Trust Your Instincts

One thing I've learned in my life as a soldier is that you have to trust your gut instincts. Sometimes there isn't time to make a decision and you have to react quickly. In those instances, you sometimes have to rely on your gut and just hope for the best.

Writing isn't terribly unlike that. You can read dozens of blog posts and books about the craft, you can take webinars and classes and attend critique groups. And there isn't anything wrong with that! But when it comes down to it, sometimes there isn't a clear-cut solution to every question or choice. And choices? Writing a novel is full of them.

What POV and tense should you write your book in? Is your beginning strong enough? Should you keep this character or nix them? What about this plot point where there's a fork in the road? What do you do?

Even the most famous authors or the best writing classes can't tell you what to do because it's all subjective. It's your story. It's your writing. And the only one who can make that choice is you. 

Making those choices can be difficult, though. I can't tell you how many times I've let a WIP languish while I tried to decide what to do with it. However, my mindset changed when I joined the army, and it changed even more when I became the Winter Soldier. In a way, my time as the good old WS meant that all I could do was rely on my gut and my base instincts. Though I'm not the Winter Soldier anymore (at least I'm trying not to be), I try to trust my instincts still. (Like I trusted my gut instinct that told me I knew Steve Rogers, for example. Except not at first...)

Still sorry about this, Steve.

Even if you're scared, that's okay. Writing a book is scary stuff! But know that you are perfectly confident and capable to write this story. It's a story you came up with for a reason, and you've got what it takes to make all the right decisions. And even if you don't, there's always a second draft. And a third. And on and on... You don't have to get it right the first time.

No matter how many drafts it takes or where your writing journey takes you, trust your instincts. Trust your story, too. As Madeleine L'Engle said:

"If the book tells me to do something completely unexpected, I heed it; the book is usually right." - Madeleine L'Engle

Your story telling you to do something? That's your gut instinct. So go with it and believe in yourself. You are more capable than you know, and this story is yours. Do whatever you want with it. Chase the stars, aim high, and trust your gut. As Amy Butler Greenfield said in her interview with Loki...

“Trust your deepest instincts. Write the book that only you can write.” - Amy Butler Greenfield

Don't worry. I believe in you. You've got this.

- Bucky

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