Caught with your plots down

I've been enjoying the Story Shop podcast, a series from the guys who do the Self Publishing Podcast. It's a standalone series of 9 episodes, released at once for easy binging, that focus on improving both the speed and quality of your writing. 

Some context: from what I understand about self publishing (or indie publishing, as it's often labeled), the field favors authors with a deep catalogue. Indie publishing, which primarily relies on e-book sales, isn't particularly profitable for authors with one or two works. Those who build a fan base with a popular series, or serialized works, are more successful. Writing a lot while preserving quality is essential. The three collaborating authors behind the Self Publishing Podcast use the mantra "Write, Publish. Repeat." to summarize their approach.

While I'm not yet sold on indie publishing (for me), I know I can still benefit from some advice on how to get the lead out when it comes to putting words on the page. 

The Story Shop series focuses on the value of preparation before the actual writing process begins. I've been bad at planning my writing, and it's led to some abysmally plotted books, as well as some works I bailed out on after writing myself into a dreadful corner. Right now, though, I'm working on a book I'll actually finish, and it's because I took my friend Robert V.S. Redick's advice, and sketched the entire plot as a short story before I began. The difference is amazing. While I still practice frequent "pantsing," or writing from the seat of my pants, I'm increasingly seeing the value (for me) of working out the beats and fleshing out characters somewhere before I hit a crisis point in Chapter 12. 

Edit: I don't quite agree with their definition of macguffin (Episode 4) but this isn't a MA creative writing course; it's a conversational brain-dump from some incredibly prolific writers.