Sticky Note Thoughts for Plotters and Pantsers

by Leigh Cheak

Often, you have to hook those ideas and pull hard. Often, they come out like the slow drip from a faucet. And often, they roar on out with the force of a waterfall. Its untidy and twisted, and initial drafts are normally terrible. (” Shitty”, according to Anne Lamott.) And sometimes, we require to leave the filth and see our work from a different point of view.

I think sticky notes can save your writing at any point in the procedure.

As a writer, your concepts are all in your head, and the task is to wrangle them out and get them onto the page for other individuals to read and experience. All authors know that its not that easy.

Theyre small, so you can only write primary points/details. This forces you to summarize and only compose the crucial stuff.
Theyre sticky. You place them down someplace, and they stay put. No wind or animal tail sweeping it off your office.
They keep their sticky pretty well, so you can move them around and stick them elsewhere.
Theyre vibrant. If youre a color-coding champ, you can use different colors for main points, particular details, specific characters … your creativity (or capability to organize) is your limit.

I get a pad of sticky notes. Whether youve got ideas but do not know where to start, youre waist-deep in a story and cant figure out where to go from there, or youre at the end however its just not adding up, the answer (at least for me) is sticky notes.

Let me explain.

Why trouble with sticky notes?

Because theyre sticky and small, its easy to manipulate them into new configurations to try new things. Its not so simple to do that with Word or composed pages.

Using sticky notes helps to pull that focus out and see things from a macroscopic viewpoint. And the wonderful thing about this organizational approach is that you can utilize it to begin writing, while youre in the writing, or after as an editing tool. By pulling out and seeing the progression from an aerial point of view, you can make more educated decisions about where the writing is going and what makes the a lot of sense to go where.

And the sticky methods that you can plot your story, leave it be, and after that come back to it in the exact same arrangement (unless little goblins mess with it while your back is turned). You can even utilize wall space to arrange your notes since gravity has less jurisdiction with the sticky. Space-saving and writing-saving– sticky notes truly are unsung heroes!

When in doubt, use stickies

When I utilize stickies, I seem like Im putting together the pieces of a puzzle and after that making them fit. I enjoy the tactile pieces and moving them around to see what makes sense where. Its an enjoyable way to manipulate your story without being caught by the blank page.

Need to get someplace, however theres no clear shift? Forgotten the conflict? Boom. Sticky. Compose your concepts down. Fold up the ones that dont work. Or maybe simply move it in other places and come back to it. I like to keep a sticky graveyard for ideas, just in case one takes place to have excellent resurrection material. If its a long piece that Im working on over a lengthy amount of time, especially.

Stickies can assist you choose if you want your story to be direct, or if its finest to jump around in time and/or viewpoints. And if you have a new idea, slap it on a brand-new sticky and discover a place for it. The size of your sticky web is restricted to you and how many pads you have.

2 Camps: Plotters and Pantsers

We both recognize as Plotters, and we like to use sticky notes from the start. When it comes to writing, we like to understand where things are going and make rational moves from point to point up until we get to the end. Using sticky notes help us to line up our plots and chart the course.

Whether youre a control-freak plotter or a free-writing pantser, sticky notes can help you anywhere in the procedure.

Our opposites are Pantsers: authors who fly by the seat of their pants. These authors frequently have no idea where a story is going, however trust that theyll get where theyre meant to be. I sort of envy these individuals, because they can have some wild experiences along the method. Theyll find sticky notes practical in the center or end of the writing, when theyre stuck and need direction, or when theyre looking at a tangle of words they need to make available for readers.

For Pantsers, sticky notes can get them out of the thick of things so they can see the map which can direct them to improve things to make the most sense. They might not require aid getting going– they understand theyre in for something amazing– however they might need some help with putting the ideas in the most logical order, or finding the holes that can journey up readers.

Last Thoughts

Are you a Plotter or a Pantser and what stage of writing would you find utilizing sticky notes most useful? Have you done something similar to assist with your writing? Whats the most tough part of composing for you? Let me understand down in the comments!

I advise you utilize the KISS approach with your stickies: Keep It Simple Silly. Make sure each sticky just has one point/idea. And remember, just since it makes sense in your head does not suggest that it will make sense to your reader.

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About Leigh

Leigh Pierce née Cheak is a poet/writer and editor living just beyond Nashville, TN with her new husband and her 2 fur-babies, Mila and Misha. She got her MFA in Creative Writing at Western Kentucky University. Her poems have appeared in The Poetry Gymnasium, 2nd Ed.; Wildflower Press Anthology: Wild Voices, Vol. 2; The Windhover; The McNeese Review; and Beechers Magazine, among others.

Top Image by RitaE from Pixabay.


Whether youve got ideas however do not understand where to start, youre waist-deep in a story and cant figure out where to go from there, or youre at the end however its simply not including up, the response (at least for me) is sticky notes.

Using sticky notes assists to pull that focus out and see things from a macroscopic perspective. Utilizing sticky notes assist us to line up our plots and chart the course. Theyll discover sticky notes useful in the middle or end of the writing, when theyre stuck and need direction, or when theyre looking at a tangle of words they require to make accessible for readers.

Are you a pantser or a plotter and what phase of writing would you find using sticky notes most helpful?

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