Monday, October 9, 2017

Trust The Talent


TRUST THE TALENT.

WHAT THAT MEANS TO ME IS,
WHEN YOU'RE AT YOUR DARKEST MOMENTS 
AND YOU THINK YOU'RE WRITING 
THE WORST THING THAT'S EVER BEEN WRITTEN, 
AND IT'S GOING TO BE A FAILURE,
YOU JUST WANT TO GIVE UP AND GO TO MADRID,
THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO IS SIMPLY 
GIVE YOURSELF OVER TO YOUR INSTINCTS.
(Robert Crais)

I hate to admit it, but I don't trust my instincts enough. I second guess my writing choices fifty-two times (or would that be "fifty-second guess my choices"? Ugh, too much math!) First person or third person POV? Present or past tense? My protagonist can't say that . . . or can he? My antagonist can't do that . . . or can she? This idea is too creepy/too weird/too out-of-the box . . . or is it?

But usually, if instead of agonizing, I just stop and listen, I hear the answer, I feel the moment. It's like when two puzzle pieces fit together - on the front, a picture starts taking shape while on the back, the seams all line up. When that happens over and over - snap, click, snap, click - I end up with a 500 piece puzzle, a 1000 piece puzzle, a story connected and constructed by a writer's instinct and trust.

As many of us gear up for NaNo next month and some of us begin to plan writing goals for the new year (overachievers!), please remember to trust your storytelling instincts, trust your talent. Trust yourself. You've got this! 

42 comments:

  1. Yeah, overachievers! I'm still working on a project from last year.

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    1. Don't feel bad, Alex - my NaNo project this year is something I'm re-working...from 2015. Sigh.

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  2. This post hit home with me. Taking time to stop and listen and trusting my instincts isn't always easy, especially with so many distractions.
    I'm on the fence with NaNo, mostly because I still haven't finished a story I started during a former NaNo. Maybe I'll rework it.

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    1. My NaNo project for this year is one I've worked on previous years, but I'm hoping this will be the draft that becomes the solid foundation the story needs. Fingers crossed! And good luck if you decide to give it a go. :)

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  3. That quote really fits me. I usually think every novel I write is the worst one I ever wrote.

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  4. Yikes. NaNo. I'm glad to just be able to return to the writing world. NaNo might be more than I can handle right now!

    Trust your gut, Madeline!

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  5. I trust my instincts, maybe more than my actual talents. :) So far, so good.

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    1. Whatever you're doing, Maria, is working for you, so keep on doing it. :)

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  6. I'm definitely guilty of too much overthinking at times. Very inspiring post!

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    1. If overthinking was a marketable, payable skill, I'd be so rich. :)

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  7. I've learned to trust my instincts, and it's helped me a lot.

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  8. This is lovely! I supposed the Insecure Writers Support Group is made up of those who struggle to trust our talent. You are incredibly talented. You can trust me on that!

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  9. I need to do a better job of trusting my first instincts for a story/novel. I often start second-guessing and change things I shouldn't change. And then I end up wasting time as I return to that earlier draft.

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    1. Yep, been there, done that. I'm finding that my gut is often right about the essence, the heart of the story I want to tell even if I end up having to make structural changes, like revising scenes, etc.

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  10. Maybe going to Madrid would help? LOL. I'm struggling with the whole second guessing right now. So I'm taking a short break to write a short story. Hoping that will uncross some wires. Good luck with Nano - planning to give that a try next year.

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  11. Sometimes I find writing similar to treading water. We should just start moving and let it happen without overthinking stuff too much.

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    1. I like that! Unfortunately, overthinking is one of the things I do best.

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  12. Oddly, I don't spend a lot of time second guessing myself. I start in, and if it doesn't feel like it's working, I toss it out and try again. I was looking at a report my writing software gave me. It would seem I have almost 100K in unused writing...

    Oh, and I read your reply to Alex's comment. My NaNo book is called "Good grief, she's trying to do it again" because I've been trying for five years to freaking finish this book.

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    1. Hmm, I have several works-in-progress with similar titles. I also sometimes keep the same titles but add a number at the end like Rocky 2 or Rocky 217. :o

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  13. Love this, Madeline! Thank you. Trust in our own instincts is tough, especially when the world and our inner critic seem to be saying something different. I have to trust that it's all right to just be in draft mode these days. Someday, everything will get finished. :)

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    1. You're very welcome, Tyrean! I wonder sometimes, that maybe certain things don't get finished because they weren't meant to? Food for thought. :)

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  14. I haven't decided whether to do NaNo this year considering I'm still working on revisions to last year's NaNo. Maybe I should trust myself more. I go back and forth and forth and back on what changes to make to it. :-(

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    1. Recently, I was struggling with some big things (backstory, turning point scenes, etc) for this year's NaNo project. So not fun! But then I listened to what my gut was telling me and I ended up going back to some things that still spoke to me from a previous version. Trust yourself! :)

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  15. That's what I need to do in regards to commas. I'm always second guessing myself on if they are needed or not.

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    1. I still don't have the best handle on commas. Sigh.

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  16. I'm definitely an instinctive writer--when all else fails, go with the gut.:-)

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  17. Maybe that's why writers turn to drink...to shut off the inner critic.

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  18. Self-editing is a good thing as long as we keep it on a leash. ;)

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    1. There's definitely a difference between self-editing and letting the inner critic run rampant.

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  19. Good tips for every writer. Many of us got into writing because of our love of the craft. Our need to share. We will learn and grow and do better and better, but you have to trust yourself to get there first. :)

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    1. Yes on loving the craft! And stories, too. :)

      Improving and learning - I hope to keep doing that, always. :)

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  20. I just called myself a hack yesterday. It brought tears to my eyes thinking I have no clue as to what I'm doing. I've calmed down since. Trusting my instincts might be the way to go.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. I'm glad you've calmed down since then because YOU ARE NOT A HACK. :)

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  21. Great reminder, Madeline. I recently taught a class where I urged the students to go back to the pure joy they felt writing stories as a kid, before they became hypercritical and second-guessed everything.

    When you let creativity take over, it's a beautiful thing. Good luck with NaNo, if you're taking the plunge! This will be my fifth year.

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    1. It's funny, because when creativity takes over, I feel both out of myself and more of myself. If that makes sense. :)

      I'll be in the NaNo trenches with you! Good luck!

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