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My New Year’s Wish for You

There are so many articles and blogs out there telling writers how to be writers and offering advice and tips; I should know because I write one. But my New Year’s wish to all of you is to step away from that stuff for a moment and offer something else: Trust.

This year, I hope you learn to trust your own counsel, your inner ear and your ideas.

Turn to your teachers, mentors and editors for help, they’re invaluable; but don’t give all of your power to another. Know where you stand and why. Go into collaborations as equals. Receptive but strong.

Learn to listen to that voice whispering in your ear as you hover on the edge of sleep that tells you where your story needs to go and what your character needs to say. It’s the same voice that lets you know when a scene isn’t working or a character isn’t sincere. It’s the one that alerts you to things aren’t reading right.

If you are paying attention, you probably already know what’s wrong with your work. If you don’t, then be open to feedback. Listen respectfully, but don’t relinquish your principles and opinion. Be strong while staying open and flexible. Remember that the reed that can bend does not break.

Listen to your inner and outer voice. Read your story out loud to look for issues. Talk out your ideas and see where they lead (recording yourself so you don’t lose great ideas). Meditate.

Our subconscious knows so much more than our conscious minds. When we get out of our way and listen to ourselves, we improve. The problem is that your true inner voice isn’t alone in there. It shares space with negativity, doubt, low self-esteem, arrogance, and myriad other voices that want to pull you off the path and substitute their truth for yours. Then your characters confuse things and clutter up the joint, chatting away.

This year, I hope you find the quiet your mind needs to hear your true voice—the one that will guide you with compassion and wisdom. The one that inspires and encourages. The one that will help you find your writing voice and transfer your ideas to the page the way they were meant to be.

Trust yourself. Listen to your inner whispers. Learn from them. They are an invaluable gift.

They are the same whispers that say, “Hey, don’t go down that dark, empty alley at night”, “Don’t trust that person” and “Did you leave the iron on?” They warn you and keep you safe. Call it instinct, fear or wisdom—whatever works. Just find it, nurture it and listen, you will be better off, not only as a writer, but as a person.

If you want to read a great guide on learning to trust your inner voice, I recommend reading The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. Not only will it strengthen your inner guide, it may save your life.

Happy New Year! See you in 2018.

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