Show, don’t tell. I can assume all writers know this as Writing 101. Whenever I failed to comply with this rule, my manuscript would come back with red markings. My mentors always told me to use metaphors, similes, or strong verbs/adjectives to describe what we perceive with our five senses without telling the obvious.
My mentors guided me through the learning process: I trusted their advice. But, did that mean I had to forget about my instincts? Through this process, I accepted their suggestions blindly because I was afraid of stumbling along the way. However, all that changed when I started trusting that little voice inside of me: my instincts. One of my mentors had suggested deleting a few sentences and changing some words in my final draft. I didn’t. These sentences spoke loudly; they vibrated in my skin. My instincts were right. My story got published.
Just like writing, in real life we sometimes need guidance. Last Sunday I took my husband to O. Noir, a local Montreal restaurant, to celebrate his birthday. (Click on the hyperlink to learn more about this fabulous experience). O Noir is a play on words in French for au noir, which loosely translates, in the dark. The servers are visually impaired. When you get there, you order your food at the bar before entering the pitch-black room. Once the barmaid has taken your order (she’s not visually impaired by the way), your server guides you to your table. He tells you where your utensils, napkins, plate, and glasses are.
After an hour, my senses were heightened: I started distinguishing my server’s voice among the cacophony of sounds. My hands were quick to learn the objects around me. My hearing clearly made out what instruments the band was playing (The members of the band are also visually impaired, and are aptly called, Les ombres, The Shadows). Although my server guided me to our table, my other four senses guided me at the table (and I’m happy to share there were no incidents).
I wanted to share this amazing experience and use it as an analogy because I realized that whether we’re guided in our writing journey or not, we ultimately have blind faith in our instincts.
Do you trust your inner voice when you write?