Writing: Head or Heart?

So I’d scheduled myself for a book blog post this weekend (ACOMAF. I read it and ACOTAR back to back and I’m still not over it. Next May is a long time to wait!) but I’ve just had such a fraught writing weekend that I won’t do those beautiful books justice if I write about them now.

I’m sorry. Have a gif of a dancing Vader to compensate:


SO. Writing. I don’t know if anyone else has this same problem with their writing – please leave a comment if so! It’d be good to know I’m not the only one – but I have two very different kind of stories. There are those I write with my heart and those I write with my head.

Not only my head, it must be said. My current WIP that I’m editing is very much a labour of love; it’s everything I love about fantasy novels rolled into an idea and for that reason I adore it. And I feel like I can always write it with my head screwed on, can deal with the real world at the same time as disappearing into a land of magic and dragons and amazingness. It is very much the book I would have wanted to read when I was about 11-12 and discovering YA for the first time. (And now, let’s be honest).

The thing is, there are many books I would love to read, and my other book love is emotional fantasy epic that destroys your feelings and leaves you a gibbering mess. Think Chaos Walking, Throne of Glass, ACOMAF, etc. My other WIP, which I left about eighteen months ago because I’d come to a wall, is very much one that I write entirely with heart. No logic or reasoning makes its way into my head while I’m writing it. I have to feel just as much as the characters or I can’t write it. And that may sound like the biggest amount of pretentious drivel since someone last told you they were waiting for ‘The Muse’ to come and inspire them to write, but it is sadly true.

This emotional response is very much based in music and atmosphere, making it very difficult to do anything other than listen to my characters and atmosphere and whole world of the story . I can’t hop between editing WIP1 (with my head) and writing WIP2 (with my big emotional heart of mess) simultaneously. There’s a reason that these projects have Never Ever worked side by side. They are just too different.


It’s problematic for me because, in essence, I hate leaving things half finished. And I’m part way through editing WIP1 right now and so it is very hard to jump straight to WIP2, no matter how desperate the pull, because I feel like I’ve failed in some way, like I’ve not been a ‘proper writer’ or written in the ‘right’ way that I should.

This of course reminds me of many an author’s advice which is ‘There is no ‘right’ way to write a story. There is only your way of writing, and as long as it gets a story written, who’s to say to you that it’s not the right way of writing?’ (I paraphrase).

I know, therefore, that it shouldn’t matter whether I write with my head or my heart, or whichever of those is predominant in my mind at the time, but it feels like I should write with my head. That I should be able to juggle two projects, to just be pragmatic and get on with it. It feels like heart is too difficult, too challenging, too other.

But isn’t it writing with our hearts that make the greatest stories of all?

K x

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