Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How to Write from Your Heart and #IWSG

Writing from your heart isn't easy. It's easy to follow the rules, but if all you do is stay within the boundaries, tick the boxes and play it safe, then your story will lack a certain spark. It's the heart that makes a story shine, the heart that pushes your story to a new and riveting level. Below are my tips on how to write from your heart.

Make yourself vulnerable. Get over those insecurities and put yourself in your writing. Bare your soul, showing the world your passion for the story and its characters.

Be wholly in control, but let yourself go, giving yourself the freedom and permission to make mistakes.

Ignore the trends. Ignore what you think other people will want to read and instead write what you want to read.

Be brave enough to break the rules, making certain you have a full knowledge of how and why the rules work in the first place.

Ignore the urge to write for publication, but know what works for publication within your target market and, more importantly, why it works.

Listen to your characters, but decide for yourself if what they want is what you want for the story.

Be honest with your emotions and those of your characters. Delve into the truth of a scene and don't be afraid to explore what you find there.

Know only you can write the story, but be open to outside influences.

Broaden your experiences--this includes reading widely and frequently--because they will influence not only what you write, but the way you write it. They will steer you away from writing copies of someone else's story.

Practise. Like anything, writing from your heart takes practise. So keep writing.

What helps you to write from your heart? 

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by Alex J Cavanaugh. Members of the group post on the first Wednesday of every month. Everyone is welcome. If you haven't already, then please sign up HERE.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

I have the honour of being one of the admins for the site, along with Joy Campbell, Joylene Nowell Butler, Susan Gourley/Kelley, Michelle Wallace, L. Diane Wolfe and, of course, the Ninja Captain and spark behind it all, Alex J Cavanaugh. As a team, we helped to put it together and are currently working hard to build it into something truly special.

Along with being chock full of writerly resources, the site will offer encouraging and helpful posts on writing. We will post every Monday and the first Wednesdays. We hope to eventually open up the Wednesdays to guest posts too. So please check it out HERE.

We've also set up a Facebook group. We'd love to see you there!

Oh and our twitter hastag is still #IWSG

How has the Insecure Writer's Support Group helped you?


68 comments:

  1. Yeah! Great site and FB page. I'm all signed up and subscribed. It looks awesome Lynda. And thanks for these tips. I have to crawl into my characters head to feel what they feel. I have been know to blubber over the odd scene. :)

    Shah X

    http://wp.me/p2rnfx-2sC

    ReplyDelete
  2. "It's the heart that makes a story shine, the heart that pushes your story to a new and riveting level." Good tips all, Lynda.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great tips on writing from the heart. And awesome that the website launched. Hope it's okay to join the Facebook group if I don't post on IWSG day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course! All welcome! Just as everyone is welcome to the website!

      Delete
  4. Lovely points here! Thank you Lynda! Totally write what you want to read from the heart and keep at it! Yay! take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great tips, especially knowing you are the only one who can write the story.
    And big thanks to YOU! Couldn't have put together the site without an awesome team. You were a big contributor and I really appreciate it. In other word - you rock!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Alex. As I've said before, I'm totally honoured to be a part of this.

      Delete
  6. Useful tips, as always, Lynda. For me, putting myself in the place of the character works every time and yes, I believe in not following every trend, but writing the story that's on my heart and mind. It's been a pleasure working with you on the IWSG.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And with you, Joy. We all make a great team!

      Delete
  7. All of those are excellent for writing with passion.

    Very excited about the site. I think we did good. I also realized I needed to track down my fellow admins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to agree about doing good. And welcome!!

      Delete
  8. Writing from the heart is the only option for me -- I would lose interest in anything else.

    Well done on your involvement with IWSG - very exciting!

    ReplyDelete
  9. All the tips were excellent, Lyn, but I liked "Ignore the trends" the best. The thing that helps me write from my heart the most, though, is to "be honest."

    So many times we may think, "If I write that, they'll think I'm..." and out of fear, refuse to write it. It's that dot, dot, dot they need to read. At the end of that ellipse is truth as only you can tell it. And usually, it's a universal truth that we all share, only few of us are willing to admit it.

    Wonderful, as always, and I think I'll go check out the new website and FB page. I didn't know it had launched (I would have used the new banner!)

    M.L. Swift, Writer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are so many ways fear holds us back...if we let it.

      Awesome to see you in the FB group too!!

      Delete
  10. (doggone it. I hit the sign out button instead of the publish button. now I've got to remember what I typed)
    Writing from the heart is the mark of a good writer. Great advice.
    Checking out the site this am.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What great advice! It's hard to open yourself up. We're taught not to let others see our vulnerabilities, our deepest emotions. Yet without doing so, our writing is boring.

    Thanks so much to you & all those who worked on the website & FB page. Super work!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great tips indeed and yep, I ignore all, do what I want to do and away I go

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have to admit I'm having a hard time with some of your tips, especially the "don't write for publication" part. I keep tossing out ideas and partially written ms's because I don't think the premise is high concept or marketable enough. It's frustrating. Congrats on the IWSG website! I've found it on FB and sent a request. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, I so wish it was easy. I can't count how many ideas I've tossed because it didn't feel right for the market. That's okay, though. I have to fall in love with a project before I can throw everything I have into it. That's the part where we still do need to know about the market.

      Delete
  14. I started to leave a comment and had a finger spasm and either posted mid-sentence or deleted it - not sure. Please delete if not.

    I will start over.... I love the IWSG site. And your advice is great as always.

    I have a new blog and identity to replace the old. I re-follow you. http://tonjamatney.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tonja. I've already found you and followed :)

      Delete
  15. Just joined the fb group! And love the tips. I find that giving myself some quite time alone to just *be* really helps writing flow from where it counts :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love your photo today, Lynda.

    You guys did such a great job with the website. I'll be visiting that bad boy quite a bit in search of tips. You always give out fantastic ones, just like today. Thank you!

    http://www.elsieiswriting.com/

    ReplyDelete
  17. Awesome new site! I went forth and joined. Looks to be a great resource for writers. This is also a super list of things to remember. Having a heart in one's writing is SO important...it's a slippery thing sometimes though!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great points, Lynda. I'm so excited for our new site and many great posts to come.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Love the website.
    Is there any other way to write?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The question should be, 'Is there any other way to write well' ;)

      Delete
  20. Writing from the heart vs. writing from the head?
    Something to ponder...
    As always, a wonderful post Lynda!
    Thank you!
    You are multi talented and did a fabulous job with the new site.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Excellent advice. And the website is fantastic! Big day for the IWSG. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Yes, to all of this, Lynda! I especially loved the "broaden your experience." That is essential. I'm back from my much needed break. Great to connect here again.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Lyn, nice to see you as one of the adminstrators of the IWSG site. At times I start writing from the head. During those time the thought of getting published fast makes me drop from the heart to the head territory. But then wisdom smacks me and I push away all insecurities and give a free rein to the story and the characters.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

    ReplyDelete
  24. WOW! Quite the expansion, you guys are really working hard to make something great. Now, I'm laughing at myself a bit with the email I wrote you last night glugglug.

    Beautiful, self-possessed tips, btw. You are all class, woman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure why you're laughing at yourself. Your email was very special.

      Delete
    2. :) I meant the part about loathing. Actually, all of our email exchanges this week have been Aussie awesome. ;)

      xx

      Delete
  25. Writing from the heart is the best way touch another person no matter how many read your book. You give wonderful advice and at the end of day we the writer determine if our stories get read. Congrats on being and admin to the IWSG website Lynda and congrats to Alex and the team.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Your advice is always wonderful, Lynda, Thank You. And I'm off to check out the new sight.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Love those tips. I tend to play it safe and therefore my writing is boring. I do need to make myself vulnerable. This comes just as I'm rethinking some character motivation in my current WIP. I needed this advice. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Good advice! Writing from the heart has been a sort of therapy for me. Not always easy to become so vunerable but always worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Great advice on writing from the heart and not being afraid to bare the soul. The group has helped me gain confidence and make connections. Feeling grateful.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am very good about ignoring trends and listening to my characters. I wouldn't want to write any other way.

    ReplyDelete
  31. So, so true!
    I listen to my characters and such but I'm trying to become more brave and push myself a bit more. Thanks for the advice :D

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great advice. I think the toughest part is baring your soul though words. Does it get easier with practice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. absolutely. It definitely gets easier the more you write and the more you share that writing with others.

      Delete
  33. Cool about the website! And great guidelines from you!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Great advice. And I'm so excited about the website. I hear you did a lot to help with that, so thanks for all the hard work!

    ReplyDelete
  35. As always, a great post! I think too many people forget the story comes from the heart, and if the author doesn't LOVE it, how can anyone else?

    ReplyDelete
  36. The new site is awesome!!
    I think we can always tell when the story doesn't come from the heart. I've stopped reading several books in the last few weeks that just didn't have any heart in them at all!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I love these tips and your supportive words. I can't believe it has taken me this long to get over my insecurity enough to finally join the IWSG! I am already feeling more confident, just from reading posts like this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad to hear you've joined the group. I've been a part of it for two years and it really has been such a support.

      Delete
  38. Great tips!! Cyberspace seemed overwhelming until I found the IWSG :-)

    ReplyDelete
  39. It's such a great support network, I'm happy for the expansion. Great post as usual Lynda!

    Nas

    ReplyDelete
  40. What helps me, Lynda? Being 77 and having lived more lives than the proverbial cat :0)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Lynda, you always seem to have such a clear perspective on everything. I envy that! ;-)

    And congrats with your new venture. The group looks awesome! :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. I agree with you point for point, especially about being true to oneself:) Great post:)

    ReplyDelete
  43. Ignoring trends can be tough, especially when it means you will probably be rejected for not writing what is trending in the market.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Ignore the trends. Break the rules. Love those. I also appreciate that you have to know the trends and the rules in order to be successful at either. Read a lot. Excellent tips!!!

    And congrats on the new website!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hi, Lynda,

    I always write from the heart. It makes your writing REAL. Readers can spot lack of heart IMMEDIATELY. So why even try to gloss over it. Reach inside yourself and show the heart, emotion, and passion....

    ReplyDelete
  46. The IWSG site is awesome! SO glad you guys did that. And your advice on writing from the heart is so spot on. I did that so much with my last novel that I felt extremely vulnerable. But i know it made the story better for it. It really is the difference between books that rivet you, and those that don't.

    ReplyDelete
  47. A person willing and ready to write from the heart can compensate for minor deficiencies in talent or skill, in my opinion. :))

    Followed the new blog, though I still don't have FB.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I think it comes down to honesty. Writing to fit a certain niche or target market is doomed to fail.

    Congrats on the IWSG site! It looks awesome already. :)

    ReplyDelete
  49. I think the advice and encouragement you've given here is really good. I personally believe that being brave is one of the greatest struggles authors deal with (I know I do). There are so many obstacles for us to face in our writing journeys that it takes bravery to: start a story, finish a story, edit it, promote it, and be proud of it despite what haters say.
    Good post.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Love, love, love your thoughts on writing from the heart, Lynda!
    I'll check out the links for IWSG now.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Stopping back in to tell you that I dedicated something to you and your fellow IWSG website creators on my Thursday post. Hope you like it:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the dedication to the IWSG admins. :)

      Delete
  52. Thanks for the advice. I'm not sure if I can do each one, but I know I can try. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

    ReplyDelete
  53. "Ignore the trends. Ignore what you think other people will want to read and instead write what you want to read." <--- Agree with that! I've always loved that quote from Toni Morrison: "If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.