The Head and the Heart

It’s an age-old question in the creative space: How do you choose your next project.

My heart often tells me one thing, aka what I just can’t live without writing. My head, though, usually goes in an opposite direction, aka what would be the “smart” book to write.

I’m of the belief that if you’re heart’s not in it, it doesn’t matter how smart the idea is. An idea without heart isn’t going to cut it. Readers are smart. They’ll see right through it.

But, there needs to be a balance. How do you find that balance? Do you let your head take the lead and add heart? Or do you go with your heart and force your head to follow?

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7 thoughts on “The Head and the Heart”

  1. I so agree. Am continually surprised by authors who try and chase genres, but then wonder why the book was not successful. If your heart is not in it, the chances of turning out a worthy read are slim.

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  2. I agree, too, and that was one of the most indulgent parts of the pre-publication journey. When you’re writing and querying, you finish one project and start whatever your heart tells you to start. BUT when you have deadlines, even the self-imposed ones, you learn to uncover the heart of whatever project needs attention. It’s a learned skill set!

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  3. I think mostly the heart. And to Diane’s comment (and you do have to meet those deadlines), if you’ve sold a project, hopefully you have a project that your heart is in. But sometimes, as in the case of the aforementioned deadline, your head needs to step in and impose order – especially when your heart is saying, “But oh, shiny!”

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  4. Hahaha, it’s true! My heart has to be into it, for sure, and if my head has the lead, I definitely enjoy it less. Being a former newspaper person, I can deliver pretty much anything that’s needed of me, but the projects that really sing are heart-lead…every single time. Also, I chose this headline because I’m pretty much obsessed with The Head and the Heart’s “Lost in my Mind” which is pretty appropriate for this topic! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjoA4nYBD5U

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  5. Great question! Sometimes the heart hijacks the head when an idea won’t let you alone. This can be a huge problem when writing to deadline, as Diane points out.

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