Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for Intuition

I rely on my intuition quite a bit. It's one of those gifts from God that helps us simply know what to do in certain circumstances. I find it's a lot like instinct, only smarter. ;)

This is a lovely excerpt from Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird book on writing. I think she puts it beautifully, in regards to intuition in writing:

"Sometimes intuition needs coaxing, because intuition is a little shy. But if you try not to crowd it, intuition often wafts up from the soul or subconscious, and then becomes a tiny fitful little flame. It will be blown out by too much compulsion and manic attention, but will burn quietly when watched with gentle concentration. 
So try to calm it down, get quiet, breathe, and listen. Squint at the screen in your head, and if you look, you will see what you are searching for, the details of the story, its direction-- maybe not right this minute, but eventually. If you stop trying to control your mind so much, you'll have intuitive hunches about what this or that character is all about. It is hard to stop controlling, but you can do it. If your character suddenly pulls a half-eaten carrot out of her pocket, let her. Train yourself to hear that inner voice. Most people's intuition is drowned out by folk sayings. We have a moment of real feeling or insight, and then we come up with a folk saying that captures the insight in a kind of wash. The intuition may be real and ripe, fresh with possibilities, but the folk saying is guaranteed to be a cliche, stale and self-contained."

She goes onto say, "Be careful, if your intuition says that your story sucks, makes sure it really is your intuition and not your mother."

LOL! I love that. It's so true. We have so many rationales, so to speak, sometimes we can't free the real character that wants to come out! I think what she's saying also has a lot to do with why you can't outline everything. Part of being true to the story is letting it unfold organically and freely. I've got nothing against outlines. I use them religiously when planning a plot. But the actual story comes from letting my characters interact spontaneously. I let them have control, and I'm just the messenger, so to speak.

Hope you're having a lovely H day. Thank you so much for stopping by here.

 BTW Did you know Carol Riggs at Artzicarol Ramblings posts the first 250 words of mss and critiques them? How cool is that? It's offered for YA / MG writers and Carol offers a very detailed critique, as well as opens it up for her readers to critique. And let me tell you, her readers are in fine tune with the craft and these are peeps you want giving you feedback. This is totally free and no requirements, other than sticking to the specified genre. Don't write YA / MG? You can still critique others and help them, or at least find some nifty blogs from the talented writers who do read Carol's awesome reviews.

So tell me ...

What are your thoughts on intuition? Do you find it easy to listen to while writing? Or while doing other things? Call me biased, but I believe females have a keener sense of intuition. Just call it my woman's intuition .... ;) 

30 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I too think women have a stronger intuition than men, Men seem to scoff at the very idea.

Loved the post a good I word.
Yvonne.

Angeline said...

Things always get really exciting when I let the characters take control. I never plan, I can't see the point because the characters never follow it. I know where I want to end up and I just let them figure all the middle out for themselves!

AllMyPosts said...

Nope!!! Men have better intuitions!!!!


with warm regards
http://becomingprince.blogspot.com

salarsenッ said...

Ooh. "...stop trying to control your mind so much." That is perfect! I always find when I let go, I write better. I guess it's been that fitful flame of intuition coaxing me.

Thanks for sharing this.

Alison Stevens said...

I find my writerly intuition kicks in when I'm not actively writing. It seems best when I'm doing something otherwise mindless (out walking, doing laundry, washing dishes, that kind of thing). :)

Talei said...

Oh I am a strong believer in Women's Intuition! And I love the quote you have here, definitely when it's quiet, I get time to reflect and good writerly thoughts will come naturally. ;-)

Have a fab week! ;-)

Jules said...

Oh yes we women have an ability! Have you ever read "Women who run with wolves?" addresses this very issue :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Old Kitty said...

I do like listening to my intuition when it tells me my writing sucks big time!! LOL!!! Sometimes I have too much pride and my own sense of self worth but I can always rely on my lovely intuitive angel to rear it's beautiful head and smack me hard!! LOL!!

Take care
x

Wanda said...

Like your word choice for today. Deciphering between one's intuition and inner critique can be difficult at times.


Wanda
The Watered Soul

Edie Ramer said...

I heart Anne Lamott. It's the times I walk away from the computer, ready to do something else, that I get those leaps of intuition.

Lucy Adams said...

I believe in intuition. I call it following my gut. I never second guess my gut.

Lucy

Bluestocking Mum said...

Great post. Yes, I'm very intuitive - especially about people and feelings. Trust your gut instinct, that's what I always say. It's never let me down yet.

Good to make your acquaintance and look forward to following your other posts in the future

warm wishes
Debbie
x

fOIS In The City said...

It can be scary the number of things we can "see and feel" that our counter parts (men) cannot.

Great food for thought,PK :)

Jennee said...

Great post! I have to say, I'm very in tune with mine. It's a blessing and a curse at the same time!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those are very encouraging words. And gosh, I hope it's not my mother!

Joe Richardson said...

No gender breakdown on intuition. Rather, I think it's based on experience. You've learned to listen or you haven't. Simple as that.

Me, I listen. I think intuition is subconscious observation, parsed and packaged and shipped up to the conscious mind.

When we lived in caves, it kept us from becoming lunch.

Now that we work in office buildings, it performs much the same function.

Best,
Joe
i: ill-gotten images

cleemckenzie said...

Yes to intuition. Have you read Blink? After reading that book I'm even more tuned into the I word.

Thanks for the great A to Z posts.

Anne R. Allen said...

LOVE Anne LaMotte. I always reread her when I'm going through a rough patch in the writing process.

I agree with Joe that intuition is not gender-specific. We all have it. But young men are routinely taught to ignore it and obey external signals instead. (Like orders to shut up and go fight and die.) Men who write can get back that intuitive side and learn to keep themselves (and the rest of us)safe. And I agree that an office cube can be as dangerous as any cave.

Susan Kane said...

Intuition is all the above--it is the inspiration that pops up when we most need it. I also believe that it is God-given, helping us move when common sense stands still.

Shari said...

That was so good. I like to think of intuition as inspiration which I believe comes from a higher source than myself.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Intuition is so important. I don't know if I agree that women are more intuitive. In my experience I have been more intuitive than most woman I know.

LTM said...

LOL! I love that, too! That's when we call in the critters, yes? I use intuition all the time when writing, and I do think it's a gift. Good stuff, P~ <3

The Words Crafter said...

I love this post! It's exactly how my #1 wip is being written. I outline enough to figure out some things, then I have to let the rest just give birth to itself. A slow process, but it's the only way this one is working.

I feel better knowing that there are people who write like this, so thanks!

erica and christy said...

Christy's ms has a highly-intuitive main character (it's a theme of her book), so we HAVE to believe in it!!
erica

Kittie Howard said...

A great I, PK. I treasure my intuition. It's very seldom off (and when it is, oh, boy!) Like Anne, I don't think it's gender-specific but that men are taught at a tender age to 'suck it in' and don't get to nurture their intuition.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

My intuition regarding my writing is getting stronger. I know when something isn't right. Then I go for a run and the solution usually unfolds as I let my thoughts flow (with pen and paper nowhere in sight). ;)

Grandpa said...

Excellent choice for I, and a useful article. If I were to start over I would trust my instinct more stop second-guessing my intuition.

Grandpa
Life on The Farm

Grandpa said...

oops sorry ... and stop second-guessing...

Jerri said...

I do my best to let intuition rule in my life. I feel it needs a lot of nurturing. Meditation definitely helps.

Barbara Kloss said...

Hey! Loved this post...and it came at a great time for me as I'm in the "plotting" stages. Thank you for sharing!

Found u through Miss Snarks SA contest...nice to "meet" you. I love your attitude. New follower...