Writing from Your Heart or Head, Which is Better?
When teaching, I speak of two writing methods–The Art of Writing, which is writing from your heart; and The Craft of Writing, which is writing from your head.
To be a good writer, you only need one method–writing from your heart. I urge clients, writers, and students to spill their passion. First pour your heart out. Once you tell you story on paper (or computer) it is easy to clean it up. We can hire editors, copy editors, and proofreaders to smooth the rough edges. Most importantly, tell your story authentically with passion.
Most of my clients and students are afraid their writing might be “bad writing.” This fear is a culturally shared fear dating back hundreds of years when publishing houses held the key to the printing press. They defined what was “good” writing and “bad” writing, often based on self-perpetuating factors. Today we enjoy print on demand which allows us to print just one book affordably. We can publish our own works now. We need not be scholars, or celebrities, or part of the elite to be published. Democracy has come to publishing. We do not need anyone’s permission write and to publish.
Is My Writing Good or Bad Writing?
No system to filter good writing from bad writing is yet in place on this new playing field of self-publishing. The system inside traditional publishing houses is based as much on the book’s monetization potential as writing quality. I have seen this in action. Yet, we are all likely to agree a difference between good and bad writing is a reality.
After working in both traditional publishing and self-publishing, I realize the real distinction between good writing and bad writing boils down to writing from your heart. Too often writers are writing for the attention of being published. They are like people who talk to hear themselves talk. Similarly these writers crave seeing their name in print. When you write self-consciously like this, it is not writing from your heart, this is writing from your ego.
Writing from Ego Likely to Create “Bad Writing”
To coax the best writing from your heart, drop the idea of appearances. Transcend them memory of your high school or college English teacher. You are telling a story, or teaching something to your readers to help them. You are entertaining, teaching, or providing valuable information. Feeling the connection between what you share and who share you it with, will automatically create good writing. Writing from your heart will cover up a multitude of writing sins when you engage readers with your passion. Next time you write, forget about grammar, spelling, vocabulary. Let it rip! Writing from your heart breaks the spell of writer’s block, and eliminates the quest for writing discipline.