Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In praise of intuition...

What inspired my 'magic of reading' post? Excellent question! I have just finished The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson, and while this is a ripping read, with an extremely thought provoking plot (although I can't quite get my head around teenagers quoting Thoreau at will) it wasn't that, that did it. It was an excerpt of Leon Garfield's The Wedding Ghost in my study guide for the university paper I am doing. It is the kind of writing I would give my left arm to be capable of. It is dreamy and poetic and cunning and witty. It is the kind of writing that makes me pause and think 'should I just give up now?' because it is sooooooo good and so far away from where I am now. That kind of brilliance can be a bit overwhelming. I should avoid reading this kind of thing when I am in limbo, in that no-mans-land of being past due dates to hear back about things, when all I can do is look for distractions to keep my mind off all the waiting it is doing. Yes of course I should be writing, writing, writing but my writing brain is sulking.

So while it sulks I thought I'd give a plug for intuition. Intuition has played a big part in my writing career so far. And yes my writing career goes up and down like a well oiled yoyo and some might question whether those gut feelings contribute more to the up than the down. But even if the jury is still out on that one I feel good about using my intuition. I apply it to my plot development, to my character names, to the nuts and bolts of sentence structure and word choice. I apply it to the question, is this story finished? and, has this received enough editing? I apply it to my dealings with publishers and other industry professionals. In this business, one learns the ropes as one goes. Even when I've learned something new, 9 times out of 10 I am already moving on to a different phase, a different set of circumstances, a new,untried experience where I can't draw on everything I've learnt before. So I have to trust my intuition. I always try to throw in honesty and politeness as well - these three are a potent brew. If in doubt, check in with your intuition. After all its an offshoot of the sum of all your knowledge, wrapped in who you are as an individual. If you can't trust yourself who can you trust!

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