Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Following Your Instincts

Over the course of my life I've learned how detrimental it can be for me not to follow my instinct - both personally and professionally. EVERY time I've gone against my instinct, I've paid dearly. I can't think of a single exception to this.

For a long, long time—years, in fact—I was so out of touch with my gut feelings, I was like a sheet in the wind, blowing whichever way the wind blew. School—composing, really—has been one long (and expensive) exercise in learning to follow my instincts again. I've not yet found the right gris-gris with my composing, but I am getting better about pinpointing what my gut feelings are. Progress, then. The same is true with writing. I'm getting better about honing that instinct, knowing what's wrong with a story before I send it out for critique. It seemed for a while there I was totally dependent on others' opinions. But now I'm beginning to see my opinions reflected in critiques on the stories I send out to beta readers. 

I hope I'm wise enough to know there will be situations where my instincts will be challenged, that there will be moments where I'm unsure—and most of all, that I'm not always right. But maybe a person's instinct is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. I think it is. I hope so, anyway.


Chris Eldin said...

Ditto for me. I still often feel like that sheet in the wind (love how you put that, btw). Part of what you describe comes from trusting yourself.
I'm glad your love of music is giving you other pieces of yourself as well. That's got to be a very nice feeling!!

fairyhedgehog said...

It's taken me a long time to work out how and when to follow instinct. That suggests I've worked it out and I'm not sure I have!

Robin S. said...

Trusting yourself is tough when you were told you shouldn't/couldn't do it. Hope this wasn't the case with you, girl, but either way - happy to hear you're coming out on the other side!

freddie said...

I have been told that, many times. I was just over on Robin's blog and she was talking about that niggling voice, the one that says Who do you think you are? You can't do this! - and, like many people, I SO identify with that. It's hard to ignore when that feeling comes in the package of an actual person who hints in ever cleverer ways that you're not up to snuff.

While I still struggle with self-doubt, I'm better about outrunning it. Gotta be. I know the alternative: it's like being trapped in a prison of your own making.