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Naz Ahsun3 min

From Soul to Page: What is Intuitive Writing and How You Can Use It Deliberately

Intuitive writing is exactly what it says on the tin. It comes from your intuition, so there is no planning, outlining, or strategising involved. It requires a complete surrender to the moment-by-moment unfolding of your writing.  You might have heard the term, ‘planner or pantser’. A planner is someone who meticulously plans and outlines before they put pen to paper. On the other hand, a pantser makes it up as they go along, allowing their pen and imagination to lead the way. Traditionally, those who class themselves as pantsers have been labelled as intuitive writers. Yet I don’t think that is entirely accurate. I believe we are all intuitive writers to some degree. After all, where do you think your spark of inspiration comes from? While I class myself as a planner, I also access my intuition to help me write. For example, I haven’t planned this blog – I am simply allowing my intuition to take over, going with the flow. That doesn’t mean that you don’t edit. Editing is part of the process, but getting the initial words down is half of the battle. In addition, my initial ideas for stories and books are an act of inspiration – a spark of magic much like the Big Bang that brought the universe into being. You also use your intuition when you write. If you’ve ever crossed out a line or word without knowing why or experienced characters taking over your story, then you are tapping into your intuition. Using your intuition is a powerful writing tool. It can help you overcome writer’s block, get to the heart of what you really want to say, offer solutions to plot dilemmas, and help your characters take unexpected routes to their goals. Often, when we are using our intuition in our writing, we feel aligned and in the writer’s flow. Like water, the words cascade onto the page until they become whole sentences, dialogue, paragraphs, until eventually they become completed pieces of art.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this was the case all the time. Yet so many of us often find ourselves hitting the writing wall. When we put pen to paper, nothing happens. Sometimes, we ignore our intuition entirely, getting stuck in what we think we should write, rather than what we want to write. Over the years, I have used several tools to connect to my intuition and access the heart and soul of my writing. They have helped me overcome blocks and complete my first drafts without overthinking. Here are two of my favourites:  

Music magic

Plato said that music ‘gives soul to the universe’. Listening to music is also said to stimulate the right side of the brain, the place where creativity and imagination reside. On this side of the brain, you go beyond what you know into a space of playful possibility. It is also a place where you connect with your intuition, allowing it to do the heavy lifting. In addition, when you tune into your favourite tunes, it lifts your spirits and shifts energy.  I love listening to music when I am in the planning stages of a new project or when I feel stuck. As I connect to the rhythm and the beat, my mind wanders into the realm of my intuition. Suddenly, I am flooded with ideas, possibilities and inspiration, and the words begin to flow. Why not create a playlist that helps you shift energy? Allow the rhythm of the music to connect you with your creativity, intuition and imagination. You might even want to create a playlist for a specific writing project you’re working on. Simply listen to the playlist before you write and see what happens.  

Wandering walk

Like music, walking is a brilliant way to shift stagnant energy and get things moving again. There is something about the momentum and act of walking that not only moves you forward physically, but also moves you forward mentally. I find that when I am out walking, my mind meanders across the landscape of my imagination. It is here that I easily reconnect with my intuition and create space for inspiration to strike. I’ve taken to recording my ideas on my mobile phone, so I can read or listen to those golden nuggets again. Next time you need some writing inspiration, go out for a walk. Try recording ideas or insights that spring to mind. Don’t be surprised if you hear snatches of dialogue, plot twists, whole story downloads or an inspiration for a new book. The most important lesson to learn about intuitive writing is that you have to trust it. Even when your mind has a preference and wants to take control, allow the soul of your book to guide you and have faith in the process.  Happy writing until next time, Naz x

Naz Ahsun

Naz is a published author, literary agent, guest-lecturer on creative writing at Cambridge University and runs writing classes and courses. You can find details of her courses by going to her website and connect with her on Instagram.