Trusting your guts in creative writing

Nov 24, 2018

My experience with NaNoWriMo 2018

This year, I am taking part to NaNoWriMo. My goal is to edit the first draft of my novel. To be ready on time, I got inspired by other writers’ piece of advice.

Before Nano, I read through the manuscript, made notes, identifying plot holes, mistakes, and incoherent characters. I also brainstormed new scenes for my manuscript and set a goal to reach by the end of November. So, when Nano started, I was ready to write immediately. But everything did not work as smoothly as I expected.

I started on the 1st of November with two new scenes. I was excited about it. Unfortunately, on the first day, when I was writing, I felt unsatisfied and not really convinced about the directing of my story. It affected my productivity so much that I  could not properly write. My words were not flooding into the paper as it usually did when I was creating. I ignored it but a small voice within myself was saying “not happy. What are you doing?” I ignored it because, for me, I put a lot of effort into the preparation to just not consider it. And my spirit could not just question it. Nope. No spontaneity was aloud.

Following week

Same draft, same feeling. I could not properly write. Why? Life was cruel. What was going on with me? I knew the answer but, I could not articulate it. Then, on the sixth day, I decided to stop pretending. It was a mascarade. I had to listen to my guts. They hated the direction where my paper was going. Yes, it was important to consider the audience I dedicated the book to and the message it provided but, not like that. I was betraying the original idea of the story. Almost immediately, I came along with a new direction, which I jotted down. It made more sense and matched the plot. Yas!

The moral of the story?

If you don’t feel your writing process or a specific aspect of your novel, be it the scenes, a character, or a setting, trust your guts, there is something wrong.

As I wrote in a previous article in French, I am networking on IG, learning more about the writing process of other authors, which is great besides reading books on fictional writing; it is always great to see the reality in other people’s work. Why am I telling you this?

As a writer, even as a human being, you have to know what is good for you. Moreover, in creative writing, try to own your story; know what works best for you. What is the best way to acknowledge if not by actually doing?  I tried a lot of activities around creative writing this year :I read books on creative writing, novels, tried doing blogs and outlining. But nothing worked. At the end of the day, I am a pantser. All that drama in other to finally find out what I already knew ??

I am originally a pantser, I write spontaneously. But, I thought that by outlining, I would avoid repeating some mistakes that occurred in my previous books.  That it is why I insisted on using outlining; it would probably  be the best solution for me. After all, outlining was the must in the writing community. Nope. Following the group and ignoring your guts has never been a great idea. Obviously, I have to write a great book, but along the way, those are the lessons learned by not following my guts.

  1. Outlining a novel is not for everybody
  2. If you feel uncomfortable with my draft, stop, reflect on it and find another strategy
  3. Trust your guts

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