Instinct is one of the most valuable tools a writer has. If you’ve ever been writing and just felt an unsettling sense of wrongness, it’s likely your instinct kicking in to tell you there’s something wrong with the story. Sometimes this feeling is so uncomfortable that you feel less motivated to write because of it. It is your duty as a writer to listen and adhere to what the story is telling you. After all, you want your story to be the best it can be.

Many of us question the validity of instinct because it questions our view of writing in general. Writers have always wondered whether writing is about creating a story or discovering one. In my opinion, instinct is your indicator that it is both of these things: you’re discovering how to create your best story. Sometimes your initial decisions aren’t the best ones for what the story needs. If you can sense this and feel the story pulling you away from your original direction, you’re doing a pretty good job as a writer by discovering and growing.

The best thing you can do when your instinct suggests rethinking something is listen to it. Listening to instinct can be a challenge, especially when you want to be in control. But consider: if you follow so strictly to your original outline, even when your instinct is suggesting otherwise, are you really in control? Or are you merely doing what the outline tells you to do? It’s like choosing a path on a walk in the woods, then realizing you don’t like it, and changing your mind. Youchoose to head back, and you choose to select a different path. You even choose what new path you want to follow.

Don’t get stuck on your original path. Choose to follow what feels right in the story. Change the things that feel wrong and don’t be afraid. Your readers will thank you, and you’ll thank yourself.

Published by Jayda Louise