On Trusting Your Writer’s Instincts

If you’re like me, you continually seek out information, tips, success stories and guidance on how to be a better writer. What to do, what to avoid, how others handle challenges and generally navigate the writing life. Part of this is because we seek community. Writing is a solitary vocation.

But I also suspect that part of this is because we second-guess ourselves. We’re looking for a magical key that will guarantee us that our work is good. And what do we mean by good? Accepted by others. Validated as writers. Assured that we can do this.

One would think communicating through the written word wouldn’t be so hard.
But I don’t think it’s the writing itself that is hard.

Rather, it’s expression and self-trust. Knowing what to say. Deciding we’ve said it in the best way possible. Grappling with words, phrases, structure, characters – all while keeping a sense of wonder, magic, beauty, flow. Because writing that moves a reader comes from Spirit and Love and Heart and Emotion. And those things only flow through us when we’re listening, choosing, selecting, trusting, deciding. We only allow those things to flow through us when we’re brave enough to trust ourselves to embody them.

That’s where the struggle comes from. Embodying the work, the story, living with and in it, and giving it a voice.

Accepting that we’re the only one who can say it. Trusting that we’ve communicated and translated the Story we’ve received.

Accepting our destiny. Listening. Perceiving. Intuiting.

Deciding. Being a writer comes down to one thing: deciding. Anyone can just keep on writing.
A writer becomes a writer when she makes the decision that the story is done.

And trusts that decision to be right.

How have you learned to trust your writer’s instincts? Comment and let me know.



About Britta Reque-Dragicevic

Inspiring, nurturing, and giving voice to the human spirit.

Posted on Saturday, in Inspiration, Internal. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I think there is wisdom of listening to those who have succeeded if you know the foundation on which you stand as a writer. If you are just looking for ways to have easy “success” then you will only get lost and frustrated.

    • Absolutely, Adam. We also have to remember that no matter how much we learn about other people’s paths, we can only walk our own. Our culture understands this about visual artists, where we expect something fresh – if not measure them by how “fresh” their work is – yet we don’t often apply it to writers. Writers tend to want to see how close we can come to how others do it. We need to realize ourselves that we’re walking the artist’s path, forging a new trail. Not that the style of our work must “break the mold” each time, but that our Stories should. Thanks, so much for sharing!

  2. Sometimes trust comes from seeing a pattern – where do we search for reassurance? Kind words of encouragement? Like you said, do we need validation from outside to trust our own gifts? I’ve spent years writing without an audience and only recently began to reach out to others. Wonderful the feedback I’ve received – both positive and negative, but I know I’m stronger in how I use that feedback because I took the time to figure out what I wanted from my writing first. You have a lovely blog – and I have to admit, I’m amazed at how much you’ve posted. Thank you for sharing.

    • You’ve hit on something so vital. “I took the time to figure out what I wanted from my writing first.” It’s important to know why we write, what we want from it, and what we’re called to do with the writing. We may not always know where a project is headed – or where the characters may lead us – but underneath, we need to stand on solid ground. Thank you, Susan, for sharing.

    • Hi Britta – I’m sorry if this is a bit forward, but when I was nominated for an award recently, I thought of your wonderful blog. You’re obviously a dedicated writer and have amazing insight. If you’re interested you can accept it at: http://susanbahr.com/2012/09/15/an-amazing-piece-of-history/. I look forward to spending more time on your site – best wishes to you.

  3. Hi Britta. Thank you for your post. I think you’re spot-on about decision-making as a writer. It’s always a leap of faith, but in my case I learned to trust my characters. I don’t know how many times I found myself wanting to write one thing and they would suddenly lead me in another direction. My own personality would get in the way, and I would have to remind myself that the story isn’t about me but about them – who they are, how they would react, how far they would do. Listening to their voices helped me put aside the part of my brain that kept second-guessing itself, making the experience a journey of constant discovery. How did I know when to stop? I didn’t, until I wrote the last word… and then I just knew (because all the voices in my head were satisfied).

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