What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

I saw someone ask this question on Julia Kagawa’s Twitter account and thought it was the best question ever!

I guess what has surprised me the most, is how driven I am. When I set my mind to something, and commit… I’m really good at getting stuff done. I have a lot of ambition and a lot of drive, and it’s really nice to know how deeply I can commit to something when I’m truly passionate about it.

I’ve also been surprised by how amazing momentum is. It always takes a little while to get started, but once you do, things just come together. Then before you know it, you have one novel, then two… I feel like if I keep doing what I’m doing, then incredible things will happen.

I really am a goal-orientated Capricorn 🙂 Good to know.

What about you guys? What has surprised you the most about your writing journey? What golden nuggets have you discovered about yourself? Good or bad.

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
This entry was posted in Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

  1. Geraint Isitt says:

    My best traits as a writer are unfortunately my worst traits as a social person. When I’m writing I can lock myself away and write for hours or days (or try to). Sadly, I can also shut myself away from people while sitting next to them as well. Both a strength and weakness developed through writing. Also, as a writer, I am fascinated with people and can talk to anyone and am always approached by people as I give off this “I’ll talk to you” vibe. When I’m out with friends or whatnot, it can get tough for them to deal with. Writing has also developed this inate curiousity in me to learn more about people and it has taught me that I might be more interesting than I think I am.

    Like

    • Cay says:

      I can relate to this. I’m developing a somewhat scary habit of preferring the company of my characters, rather than the actual people that I’m in the company of. Not if I’m hanging out with friends, they’re engaging enough to tear me away from my story, and if I’m intrigued or fascinated by my company I pay attention.

      But when I’m attending ‘compulsory social events’…whatever they are, I tend to phase out the people around me and think about my story instead of paying attention and engaging in conversation. I must come across as an arrogant bitch sometimes.

      Like

      • Geraint Isitt says:

        I don’t know if I prefer the company of my characters yet, but I definitely want to meet the title subject of the supernatural horror I’m working on. He’s the most emotionless guy and does some siniser things, but he’s the character I can see most clearly and I like him the most. Kinda scary I think. lol.

        Like

  2. Geraint Isitt says:

    My best traits as a writer are unfortunately my worst traits as a social person. When I’m writing I can lock myself away and write for hours or days (or try to). Sadly, I can also shut myself away from people while sitting next to them as well. Both a strength and weakness developed through writing. Also, as a writer, I am fascinated with people and can talk to anyone and am always approached by people as I give off this “I’ll talk to you” vibe. When I’m out with friends or whatnot, it can get tough for them to deal with. Writing has also developed this inate curiousity in me to learn more about people and it has taught me that I might be more interesting than I think I am.

    Like

  3. sjoycarlson says:

    For me, it’s been my ambition and drive as well as the amazing writer’s high, we’ll call it, I get when I’m in the zone and I can feel what I’m putting down on the page. The excitement and the rush is spectacularly addictive. Guess that’s why I keep writing, even after all the rejection letters! Plus just how quickly I knocked that last novel out–like a month. Now re-working it hasn’t been quite so quick haha.

    Like

    • Chris says:

      Wow, one month! That’s awesome. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by discovering that “writer’s high,” though I always think of it as “flow,” just being open and tuned in to the universe.

      Like

      • sjoycarlson says:

        That’s a much more poetic way to put it! So I finished it in a month, but then have spent the last seven or eight doing further research, revising, reworking, getting feedback from readers and then doing MORE reworking. So I “finished” it fast, but it was far from finished…. Now I’m getting close to done.

        Like

  4. you always ask pose interesting questions! i want to think deeper about this one, but off the top i have always believed that writing is the glue that keeps me together and the blood that runs through me. if it is not expressing myself in morning pages, it is capturing my imagination and going with it…

    Like

  5. Great post! I’ve never even attempted anything like writing a novel, but I noticed since writing tiny things like blog posts, review, articles or even sample essays for my tutoring students, I’ve been surprised simply by how much I enjoy it. I get a high out of it. I spent so much time with people on my back saying “Write now. Why aren’t you writing?” that it became stressful but since that’s gone it’s just been… fun. Definitely changes my thoughts on writing a novel or something in the future. Even a writing-based career doesn’t sound so scary anymore.

    Like

  6. eskopoet says:

    I learned that I can cry, and cry a lot. Poetry forces you into emotions that you thought you would never wrap your head around… until you are tearing up over a poem that means the world to you!

    Like

  7. sklase says:

    Mine is sort of like yours, Jodie. I’ve found that I’m very determined even through tons of rejections.

    Like

  8. Harliqueen says:

    Great question, and a great answer 🙂

    Like

  9. I learned that I’m not nearly as carefree as I thought I was! In real life, I’m pretty mellow. In my writing, I am an anxious and worrisome little bird. I guess it’s good it comes out somewhere. Balance, you know.

    Like

  10. The most surprising thing I learned is not to go into a writing session on full blast, maxed out on caffeine, and feeling high on life. The potential for distraction is too high and a crash is inevitable. There is a “just right” energy level that allows exploring tangents and maximizes productivity.

    Like

  11. Thanks for the recent visit to my Western genre site….much appreciated. In terms of the interesting questions you ask above, I would share that experimenting with a new style is fun for me (used to dig semi-colons, now into dashes, ha)…and that I should try to avoid writing letters to the editor on an issue after a few pints, ha….the core issue and passion is there but whew, it’s easy to be very tough on others in that state!

    All the best with your work,
    Chad

    Like

  12. Xeno Hemlock says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth: I’ve also been surprised by how amazing momentum is. It always takes a little while to get started, but once you do, things just come together.

    Like

  13. As hyperbolic and vain as this may well sound, I have learned that it is within my power to change people’s lives for the better through writing and to hopefully change the course of human events. Given that I am into non-fiction, it’s not necessarily the brilliance of the writing, so much as the profundity of the ideas that the writing articulates.

    In the event that I am not wholly delusional in this, so much of our day-to-day living seems to me to pale in terms of significance, as a result. Things that have typically seemed urgent or important now border on being irrelevant or, at least, nuisances that interfere with my true purpose in life.

    A bit like being on the quest to destroy the One Ring a la Tolkien, only for real. A bit disconcerting, really.

    Like

  14. Jon Chaisson says:

    I’ve always said I’m cursed with a tremendous amount of patience, and being a writer certainly has shown that. As much as I’d love to soar through the writing process as fast as I possibly can (and I know I can do it–I just need to find the time in between a full-time job and my other hobbies), I find I’d rather take my time to get something pitch-perfect rather than rush through and have the result half-assed. From past experience, the end results of a patient mind have been so much better than the rushed “phoned-in” attempts I’ve tried.

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  15. Juan Zung says:

    I’ve learned from committing to writing that I’m not as good a writer as I thought, and that I am getting better.

    Since I was a kid, I’ve been told by teachers, by parents and even some friends that I’m “such a gifted writer(!)”. Later bosses told me to same. And at some point I began to make some money writing copy and other stuff. So I assumed it was true: I am a good (bordering on great) writer! But…

    Every time I tried to write something that mattered to me, I’d look at it and shake my head at how far off it was from where I wanted it to be. Usually at this point I’d quit writing and move on to something else.

    It was a few months ago that I committed to keep writing, through my anxieties and doubts and disappointments. To stay humble and have a student’s mentality, trying to learn from other writers and just wise people in general. I’m learning a lot and continue to learn. It’s exciting to see my writing evolve and my mind as well. And, interestingly, it’s been really liberating to embrace the knowledge that I am not nearly as good a writer as I aspire to be.

    Like

    • I think you’ve got exactly the right attitude. Be confident, embrace the gift you’ve undoubtedly got, but also be open to your faults and keep trying, keep improving. No-one’s writing is perfect and everyone can improve. I guess it’s a bit like being a top athlete … you need talent and ability in the first place, but you still have to work incredibly hard to have any chance of an Olympic medal.

      Like

      • Juan Zung says:

        Thanks for the encouragement, CP. I really am seeing that talent is a smaller part of the equation, which is a good thing given that we can’t control for talent (or luck), but we can control for work!

        Like

  16. Juan Zung says:

    I’ve learned from committing to writing that I’m not as good a writer as I thought, and that I am getting better.

    Since I was a kid, I’ve been told by teachers, by parents and even some friends that I’m “such a gifted writer(!)”. Later bosses told me to same. And at some point I began to make some money writing copy and other stuff. So I assumed it was true: I am a good (bordering on great) writer! But…

    Every time I tried to write something that mattered to me, I’d look at it and shake my head at how far off it was from where I wanted it to be. Usually at this point I’d quit writing and move on to something else.

    It was a few months ago that I committed to keep writing, through my anxieties and doubts and disappointments. To stay humble and have a student’s mentality, trying to learn from other writers and just wise people in general. I’m learning a lot and continue to learn. It’s exciting to see my writing evolve and my mind as well. And, interestingly, it’s been really liberating to embrace the knowledge that I am not nearly as good a writer as I aspire to be.

    Like

  17. I’ve learned that for me, when the writing is going well, it feels like I’ve been away on vacation when I re-emerge from the cave! (No comment on what it feels like when it’s not going well.)

    Like

    • T D Hutch says:

      I learned that I am not satisfied. I would like to be a full time writer, but I am stuck. I try to write as much as I can, but it’s not enough to get rid of that feeling of being unfulfilled. Sometimes it feels like I am trapped, I just want to keep that writing adrenaline rush to go on as much as possible, but instead I gotta do a job I don’t really want to do. I have to keep dreaming and writing however. Let me be clear, I am not saying that I don’t feel blessed or that I don’t appreciate what and who I have. It’s more complex than that.

      Like

  18. pauljgies says:

    I can seriously scare myself.

    Like

  19. I’ve discovered that it’s really really scary to take a deep breath and launch yourself out there for the first time, to make such a big part of yourself so vulnerable…but that the support of total strangers (as well as friends/family!) makes it completely worth it. Great post!!! -Kate

    Like

  20. I didn’t realize how much I needed writing in my life in order to stay sane.

    Like

  21. suzanne says:

    I always knew I had the tendency to start a project and then move on when the excitement wore off , but I thought doing NaNoWriMo had proved that I wasn’t going to be that way with writing. I totally am, though. What I’ve found, though, just in the past couple of weeks, is that it’s helpful for me to have a couple of projects going on at a time. That way when I’m bored with these characters and what’s going on over here, I can check out what’s going on over here. Basically I discovered that I am a multi-tasker and in fact work better that way. I am not driven like you, although I wish I were! One day at least one of these projects I’m working on will be readable!

    Like

  22. Last year I was ‘in the zone’ and very committed to finishing my last novel – and I did. The year before it was my first novel. You’re right, it takes so much time and effort to write a novel and momentum is key. This year unfortunately I haven’t found any momentum yet, perhaps because I don’t yet quite believe in my latest book idea as much as my first two.

    Like

  23. Last year I was ‘in the zone’ and very committed to finishing my last novel – and I did. The year before it was my first novel. You’re right, it takes so much time and effort to write a novel and momentum is key. This year unfortunately I haven’t found any momentum yet, perhaps because I don’t yet quite believe in my latest book idea as much as my first two.

    Like

  24. embrystical says:

    Well, I found that I enjoy basing characters on my classmates (and teachers) in order to then come up with very unoriginal deaths for them. Mwahah!

    Like

  25. alankscott says:

    The most surprising thing I’ve learnt about myself is the strong desire/ need to write that is inside of me. I only started writing when I was 39 years old and in the last 5 years have written 4 novels, 3 books of short stories and numerous poems and short stories.

    And the bright, white hot flame of desire is still burning bright.

    Great post by the way

    Alan

    Like

  26. iancbristow says:

    The most surprising thing that I’ve learned is that I can actually write. When I was young it was like pulling teeth just to get me to write a paragraph for school. Now I’m finished with two of the novels in my three book series. I never thought about how much of an art form writing really is until I started doing it. I have always loved the other arts, so it has been so cool getting to know the joys of writing over the last few years.

    Like

  27. iancbristow says:

    The most surprising thing that I’ve learned is that I can actually write. When I was young it was like pulling teeth just to get me to write a paragraph for school. Now I’m finished with two of the novels in my three book series. I never thought about how much of an art form writing really is until I started doing it. I have always loved the other arts, so it has been so cool getting to know the joys of writing over the last few years.

    Like

  28. Bobbib says:

    I learned that I Do Have A Talent For Writing. An activity that I have enjoyed for many years but, lately have just began to water; watching it grow as I nurture it one muse at a time.
    I’m moving forward to a larger project (s) by taking smaller steps towards my ultimate goal: To To Write a Novel & To Publish. Along my writing journey, I see my skills blossoming; forming life – even in the smallest form – its emerging into maturity one post at a time.

    Like

  29. thecravecave says:

    And again an amazing post by you! That question is indeed very interesting.
    Unfortunately I am not as driven and goal-orientated as you are, but I always wanted to help people, which I can do better when I write the stuff down I think. Also I doubt myself very much, but after shutting my mind off and just start to write and the flow catches me and pushes me forward while I just need to stretch my arms out and go with the flow, I feel like what I do is near good enough.
    Writing has helped me seeing how I really work and how my mind actually works. Writing to me is like a hot bath after a hard day of work when your whole body still hurts, but the bath is kinda soothing your body and you notice that the ache is just a product of your work.

    I kinda divagated now, but I hope you’ll get my point!
    That actually another thing I noticed about myself. I can’t put my thoughts into simple statements and get lost in the images my mind creates 😀

    Like

  30. Sierra says:

    The Rules are not the end-all, be-all of writing. They are also not to be ignored entirely.

    Like

  31. mincs1 says:

    Hi Jodie, I tried to vote for you but the site does not come up by simply clicking on it 😦

    Like

  32. I’m not an author yet ( I haven’t even graduated highschool yet) but I’m writing my own stories and poetry and I know that in some way I have changed.I have gotten better, I come up with ideas I never even knew I could come up, and I have learned that writing is about expressing yourself in whatever way you like. Your writing can change life’s.

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  33. Fun post! That I get more from writing about people’s hearts than I do from writing about their adventures.

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  34. Fun post! That I get more from writing about people’s hearts than I do from writing about their adventures.

    Like

  35. Meg says:

    I voted for your blog!

    Like

  36. wendy waters says:

    This is a GREAT question. The most surprising thing I’ve noticed about myself through the process of writing a novel is my connection to my soul. With every ounce of struggle and determination to achieve the best of myself I’ve discovered I’m a person I can trust. i did NOT give up at the first roadblock and blank page. I did NOT entirely cave when the rejections started flowing thick and relentlessly fast. I cried, I fumed but I kept going. The nugget for me is finding out I really like myself.

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  37. Charlie Britten says:

    Your commitment is breathtaking, Jodie. Too many of us writers are too easily distracted, electronically and otherwise.

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  38. I’ve leaned nothing short of sloth stops me. Last year I wrote 365 poems and they were all published on at least three of my four blogs and on most were published on an eZine called The Blue Route in Facebook. It flows and I never question the muse. Thanks for liking my poem I Read. It is getting a warm response so far.

    Brent Kincaid, WordMusic

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