I've been meaning to follow up on my last post for a whole week, and somehow haven't gotten around to it. It's like I have a newborn in the house or something.
Anyway, I found the comments to my post very interesting because it seemed like some people thought I was saying you MUST plot out your book to be a "real writer."Which, so not what I was saying. While I do believe that taking a close look at plot and being willing to drastically change your plot is vital to creating a good story, that doesn't mean you have to do that up front.
I don't. While I am much more aware of plot as I draft, I would still consider myself very much a "free drafter." I don't plan or outline. I might make very vague notes as I go along, but it's never more than a few chapters ahead and it constantly changes. This works for me. You have to do what works for you.
What I meant wasn't to promote outlining, but to say to that no matter how you get the words out, you have to be willing to change them all if necessary. You could plot out everything "perfectly" before you write and still have to rewrite whole passages, you know? Or you could wing it and have to rewrite the whole thing. Or maybe it comes out fairly in tact the first go around, so the changes are smaller. Every book is different, and you have to do what is best for that book.
Regardless of how you work, part of becoming a better writer is attitude. It's about willing to go the extra mile—or twenty. Okay, one hundred. It's about pushing yourself for the sake of getting the story right. Not just "good enough," but amazing and airtight. It's about doing what's best for the book even if it's hard and will take more time than you want it to. It's about putting the craft first and publishing second.