Trusting your guts in creative writing

My experience with NaNoWriMo 2018

This year, I am taking part to NaNoWriMo. My goal is to edit the first draft of my novel. To be ready on time, I got inspired by other writers’ piece of advice.

Before Nano, I read through the manuscript, made notes, identifying plot holes, mistakes, and incoherent characters. I also brainstormed new scenes for my manuscript and set a goal to reach by the end of November. So, when Nano started, I was ready to write immediately. But everything did not work as smoothly as I expected.

I started on the 1st of November with two new scenes. I was excited about it. Unfortunately, on the first day, when I was writing, I felt unsatisfied and not really convinced about the directing of my story. It affected my productivity so much that I  could not properly write. My words were not flooding into the paper as it usually did when I was creating. I ignored it but a small voice within myself was saying “not happy. What are you doing?” I ignored it because, for me, I put a lot of effort into the preparation to just not consider it. And my spirit could not just question it. Nope. No spontaneity was aloud.

Following week

Same draft, same feeling. I could not properly write. Why? Life was cruel. What was going on with me? I knew the answer but, I could not articulate it. Then, on the sixth day, I decided to stop pretending. It was a mascarade. I had to listen to my guts. They hated the direction where my paper was going. Yes, it was important to consider the audience I dedicated the book to and the message it provided but, not like that. I was betraying the original idea of the story. Almost immediately, I came along with a new direction, which I jotted down. It made more sense and matched the plot. Yas!

The moral of the story?

If you don’t feel your writing process or a specific aspect of your novel, be it the scenes, a character, or a setting, trust your guts, there is something wrong.

As I wrote in a previous article in French, I am networking on IG, learning more about the writing process of other authors, which is great besides reading books on fictional writing; it is always great to see the reality in other people’s work. Why am I telling you this?

As a writer, even as a human being, you have to know what is good for you. Moreover, in creative writing, try to own your story; know what works best for you. What is the best way to acknowledge if not by actually doing?  I tried a lot of activities around creative writing this year :I read books on creative writing, novels, tried doing blogs and outlining. But nothing worked. At the end of the day, I am a pantser. All that drama in other to finally find out what I already knew 😅😑

I am originally a pantser, I write spontaneously. But, I thought that by outlining, I would avoid repeating some mistakes that occurred in my previous books.  That it is why I insisted on using outlining; it would probably  be the best solution for me. After all, outlining was the must in the writing community. Nope. Following the group and ignoring your guts has never been a great idea. Obviously, I have to write a great book, but along the way, those are the lessons learned by not following my guts.

  1. Outlining a novel is not for everybody
  2. If you feel uncomfortable with my draft, stop, reflect on it and find another strategy
  3. Trust your guts

Auteur : Muriel Mben

Je m'appelle Muriel Mben. Je suis auteure de La dernière pluie (2013), The unruly passenger (2015) et du roman Un bond dans l'inconnu (2016). J'ai commencé ce blog parce qu'écrire fait partie de mon ADN et mon rêve est de devenir une auteure à succès. Ce blog me permet donc de devenir meilleure. Je partage avec vous les astuces que j'apprends. Ce blog me permettra aussi de me définir comme experte dans un futur très proche. Je suis disponible à l'adresse mail suivante:


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