7335643838_40c3d8841a_zChuck Wendig, author of the writing blog terribleminds, is the snarkiest blogger I know, but he also has some profound things to say about this business we all share a love-hate relationship with. Recently he blogged about how to sharpen your writing instincts. One of the things that struck me most was this little tidbit, an explanation of what “writing instinct” is:

You see the author operating at a high level and you wonder: why am I not doing that?

The reality is:

You’re only seeing the island, not the heap of volcanic material that pushed it out of the sea.

Put differently?

A house needs a strong foundation.

And the foundation of that house hides forever in the darkness of the dirt.

You’re not seeing all the time it took to craft the instinct necessary to do this thing.

Instinct is valuable because it’ll tell you which way to jump. It’ll give you the sense in the middle of a story that something is off, it’ll tell you if your character will have broken her contract with the reader, it’ll tickle the back of your mind and say that the plot is untenable or this description is too much or hey what’s the deal with you writing all these stories about orangutans that’s really weird, man. Instinct can even help you on the business side of writing, too.

Check out Chuck’s post in its entirety here: Polling Your Intestinal Flora: How a Writer Cultivates Instinct. It’ll make you laugh AND think.

– Lea

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