Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Trusting Your Gut in Writing

by C. Michelle Jefferies

I'm a red belt in a Korean form of martial arts called Tang Soo Do. The color of my belt means I'm half way to black belt. While that really doesn't matter, it gives you an idea of how long I have been working on this art.

One of the things we do before every class is warming up exercises. Push ups, sit ups, leg lifts, and other things. One of the focuses of the warming up exercises is to strengthen the core muscles. Because in martial arts the core is the strength to everything. Punches, kicks, forms and self defense.

So what does this have to do with writing?

I see posts on various social media all the time wondering if the writer should do this or that. Should they add, remove a character or plot, or include a prologue. (That last one, the prologue, was me. I do it myself.) All over the place, and in every medium, that artists can express themselves--is full of indecision.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with asking for advice and help. However when we let our self doubt and indecision interfere with the creative process then we end up dead in the water in regards to the creative process and we literally snuff the muse out.

We artists are sensitive people. We have a really thin skin  under the toughened exterior we have to develop for public exposure. When we have a bad critique or review or simply struggle, we start to tear at ourselves and  convince ourselves that were not worthy of the title author or artist or musician and there goes all of the positive thoughts about ourselves right down the drain.

Do you realize that if we treated someone else or had someone else treat us the way we sometimes treat ourselves we'd be horrified?

So back to the sit up issue. When in a martial arts spar we must trust out gut to not only protect vital organs, but to give us the strength to strike and kick and grapple to save ourselves.

So it's the same in writing. Trust your gut. You know what's best for the story. You know where it needs to go. There's nothing wrong with asking for advice or help, but don't let yourself get into a cycle where your constantly doubting yourself as an author. Trust that the critiques are there to help you and if you disagree with what the other person says that its okay. Trust the story.

After all, you are the author.

No comments: