Wednesday, July 6, 2016

When In Doubt, Trust Your Gut — IWSG (33)

Isn't the internet awesome? It's full of information and provides many how-tos for anyone and everyone. It can guide us when we're trying to figure out the ins and outs of writing our books. 

Not sure what genre your book falls under? Need to know if you captured a scene or conflict in a realistic way? Have to find the proper dialogue rules? Wonder which Critique Partner/Beta is on the money? Well, look no further than our darling Mr. Google.

The problem is . . . can you even trust what you read when everything has a conflicting counterpart? And if they all seem to make sense, how do you decide what's right and what's wrong? Well, the answer is as simple as it is complicated: we have to trust our gut. 

Right now, my gut has no idea what to do. All it wants is for me to stuff my face with lots and lots of carbs. In all its complex simplicity, that little thing we call fear is making me question everything. But I'm reminding myself that yes, I need to do my third book the justice it deserves, so second guessing every move is lethal. Not to mention, plain stupid.

Still, it's not all bad. The questions and doubts can keep us grounded and can stop us from falling off the rails. The main thing to remember at all times is that no matter what, this is YOUR story. YOUR characters. YOUR world. No one else knows what would be unnatural. So if you want to write notes for two different directions, I say: do it. That's what I did. And I learned real quick that one of those paths made me question whose book this was. It certainly was not mine.

The kicker is I knew the other way was the way to go . . . but I didn't trust my instinct. Rookie move? Nah, it helped me remember to keep following my gut from this point forward. Until of course, it goes out to CP's, and they say I made some terrible mistakes . . . then I'll revisit my instincts and probably ask for a donor gut that *might* know better than mine. :P

What about you?
Do you also need a reminder, every now and then,
 that YOU hold the answers?
No? Just me? O_O Umm . . . carry on! ;) 

And in case you need extra reinforcement in writing "how-tos" visit this page for an ever-growing list of resources! 

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hop.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!  Posting is first Wednesday of every month. Click here for more info.


  1. That's a timely reminder! If it feels wrong, it probably is... I remember being asked 'Do YOU like it?' And I remember thinking, 'I do, actually...'

  2. I think trusting ourselves is one of the hardest and most vital things we can learn as an author. It is easy, but we got this.

  3. I hear you. The only time someone else might be really right is when they're paying you for your work. Actually, even when being paid, I tend to hold to my guns a bit.

  4. All of my books and all of my writing, bottom line, is about listening to and following my gut, so yes, trusting yourself is crucial. I need to remind myself on a moment to moment basis to stop and listen to the still, small voice inside. Others may have valuable insights, but ultimately you must make the call!

  5. So true....

    I always trust my gut. No one knows your story better than you. Sometimes it is good to get other peoples opinions on certain things, BUT the bottom line is, WHAT FEELS RIGHT TO YOU...

    ALL the best with your third book, SK!

  6. I am having a terrible time trusting my gut right now. Thanks for this reminder! And you made me laugh about the carbs. :D Damn, why is it the only time I easily go along with my gut is when it wants me to wolf down junk food??

  7. An excellent reminder to trust ourselves, to trust our guts. Except when our guts want carbs. Then, maybe not so much. :)

  8. I trust my gut as well. Logic can only take you so far. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  9. Carb loading!
    My critique partners' suggestions are usually on the money. But now and then I'll get one that I just know is not the way to go. I do trust my gut instinct.

  10. Great advice. You know sometimes you can't always perceives well enough to make good decision, but one thing you can count if it does not feel right or just absolutely wrong you almost count on that being the truth of it. My yea's are not always so clear but Nay's never miss, Great post.

    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

  11. The doubts do keep us grounds, but we need to recognize when to stand our ground. We're the only ones who truly know our stories.

  12. You're right. We know best where we're going.

  13. It's so important to trust one's gut. It's one thing to have some fleeting doubts or second thoughts, but entirely another if something keeps bothering us, and the doubt keeps getting stronger.

  14. I do tend to make a lot of gut decisions. And then I tend to second and triple guess those decisions. But never the ones that involve inhaling lots and lots of carbs...

  15. I think it's good to trust one's gut! I get all doubtful and worrisome when I start taking other people's ideas over my own. It's not worth it. Just keep gut-writing. :)

    1. Sorry - I commented from my family account, but it's just me - tyrean

  16. I like your comment about it being YOUR book and only you know what is supposed to happen. I think of that during certain times at work, when we think we've screwed up something, and are reminded that nobody else knows how we *meant* to do a song; they only know how it came out when we did it, and they were fine with it. Your story is no different. When all is said and done, the reader will be able to read a killer story without all the baggage of what you removed . . . which, knowing you, is probably 20k words for every 50k you write, haha. XOXO

  17. Stand your ground, know yourself, and trust your gut! Great reminders and wonderful advice! Google is such a good research tool, but research can lead to many things, including new ideas for writing. If you're writing a college paper, yes, be very careful, but for fiction writing? Hmm...
    Happy Writing!

  18. Yep, very true. We all know our stories way better than anyone else. And the funny thing is that if you give your novel to 100 people and ask them what to change, you'll get 100 completely different answers.

    One time we both went to a writer's retreat where they had agents and editors read the first 10k of your novel and critique it. To put it in perspective, one agent thought it was absolutely perfect as is, one agent thought it should have been put in 1st person instead of 3rd, and one editor said it should be completely rewritten as a children's story. Yes, one of our f-ed up humor books rewritten as a Disney tale for 6 year olds. Imagine that.

    The gut definitely said a huge NO on that one.

  19. Yeah, second guessing mires me in a story sometimes. Then I ask for suggestions, and occasionally get more than I bargained for. Well, it all helps, even the stuff we discard. Anything that gets the brain thinking/scheming is a benefit.

    Just gotta know when to say, ok thanks, I got it from here.