When I first started writing I wrote purely for the love of writing. To be cliche, I wrote from my heart.
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.