Gut Writing

When I first started writing I wrote purely for the love of writing.  To be cliche, I wrote from my heart.
"Oh beautiful manuscript, where have you been all my life?  You are so special, and I love you so much.  It doesn't matter if I don't know anything about writing a book or the publishing industry because my love is enough.  My love will make everyone else fall in love with you.  It will make them overlook your glaring plot devices and pages of exposition.  I <3 U!"

Then I began studying about writing and publishing and plot arcs and effective dialogue.  I read agent blogs and Publisher's Weekly.  My next book was going to have all the elements of a best-seller. I put my brain firmly in charge!
"My character is so relatable and my hero is flawed (but hot), and there is action and romance and comedy and unexpected twists. My dialogue is realistic and my plot is tight. I am a WRITER (insert heroic roar)!"

Then I calmed down a little bit.  I had a few reality checks.  The mystery of the writing world became less mysterious.  I took time to read more.  My voice became much clearer.  And a funny thing happened.  My brain and my heart sort of began working automatically in the form of my gut.  I began to trust my writing instincts, but know that I was always going to have work hard and edit alot. (I know, the picture is kind of creepy.)

"Dear manuscript, thank you for giving life to my inner voice, while still sticking to the rules of good writing and editing.  And thank you for giving me permission to trust my own style and instincts. I have high, but hopefully realistic, hopes for you.  But even if you don't work out I will always be thankful to you for helping me discover what kind of writer I really want to be."

The interesting thing about writing only from the heart or mind is that my gut always told me something wasn't quite right.  But when I'm writing from my gut, my heart and mind are automatically engaged.  I know I still have a long way to go, but I hope that means I'm finally getting the hang of all this.


  1. It's a hard balance, writing with your head, heart and gut. I try to write my first drafts with my heart and revise with my head. My gut is a good indicator of what needs to be fixed and how to fix it.

    Great post! Loved the pictures!

  2. Ha ha ha! Your pictures are seriously the greatest! :) I sort of had the same kind of timeline you did. I wrote a book, found out that I didn't format anything right, and used cliches like no other.
    I think I know a little more now, but I still have a TON to learn! :D

  3. Um "Kind of creepy" ?!? That picture is totally disturbing!! LOL I went, "GOO!" Ha! So funny. And your post is so true (even with disturbing picture).

  4. Meika,
    I think that's a good strategy and similar to mine. We all work a little differently, but I believe good writing has to employ all the best parts of us.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who had to go through the learning process. Glad you like the pictures.

    Art is not always pretty. Goo, Indeed.

  5. I thought the outside brain was creepy, but then the outside typing gut - made my day! I love creepy things. (Except for creepy men. *shudder*)

    Anyhoo, great post! Always trust your gut!

  6. Ruth,
    I love that I'm creeping everyone out! It kind of makes my day in a twisted way.

  7. Love your cartoons, creepy or not.:-)

    You described these stages well. My goal is to trust my gut more with my next book. I'm sure Kasie will thank me for that ... less hand-holding on her part. ;-)

  8. Ugh! stupid computer. I can't see the last picture.

    I can totally relate to those stages, hopefully I can start trusting my gut more.

  9. Linda,
    Ah yes, poor Kasie, our shared hand-holder. Thank goodness for her continued support.

    You missed out on the creepiest drawing. :) Lucky you. And trusting our gut is something that is so much harder than it sounds.

  10. It's like a colostomy gone wrong. You've distracted me with that picture. I can't think of anything else.

  11. Jessie,
    You have clearly won this round.

  12. I trust my gut, but I do have to remind myself to do it. My "outside brain" as Ruth called it, still wants to run the show. And my poor, poor heart keeps getting shoved aside.

    I'm going to make that my goal this week: Trust my gut.

    (And pray that it doesn't burst from my body to start writing my story for me . . .)

  13. Oh Renee,
    I am laughing and laughing. That would be messy. But you could write a story about it. Invasion of the story-writing-gut-snatchers, or some such B-horror movie.

  14. Great pictures! Creepy, but spot-on. :)

    I'm sure you're getting the hang of it. I think as writers we're always learning and growing. Don't ever lose that.

  15. that little pink hand just made my day :)

  16. This might be the most original post I have ever read! Love it, Candice. :-)

  17. Sooo true! That's the way my journey has gone too, and I feel like my writing is stronger because of it. I still have a long ways to go, but practice certainly helps!

  18. I love the pictures! They are amazing!

    Finding that balance between your head and your heart is difficult, but it's completely necessary. My journey has been similar, and I can tell that my writing is getting stronger.

    I also agree with Michelle--writers are always learning and evolving. Even though I know my writing is getting stronger, I know I still have more to learn. And I always will.

  19. I love this post. Your pictures are creepily fantastic.

    Does this mean that I get to read your book soon? *please, please*

  20. Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. This was superb! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Aww, I love this! And it's so true. The more I write, the more I learn to listen to my instincts and trust them. The last book I wrote, I didn't do that so much, and it failed in a big way. I have now paid the price and rewritten it from scratch (as the wise editors with my publisher so kindly suggested I do ... I may or may not have cried ...) I love your pictures. Even the creepy one. :)

  22. Um ... don't publish my last comment! I already commented ... ??? I thought this was a little bit familiar! It just showed up in my reader yesterday ... Anyway, I still mean what I said on my recent comment, lol. :)