Do You Blindside Yourself With Your Writing? If Not, Why Not?

“Surprise yourself.  If you can bring the story – or let it bring you – to a place that amazes you, then you can surprise your reader.” —– Chuck Palahniuk

Has your writing ever blindsided you? Have your characters ever caught you off guard by saying or doing something clever or revealing a bit of information that you yourself didn’t know? When re-reading a piece that you set aside to cool, have you ever wondered where the ideas, voices, and speculative elements came from and if you have any more of that inside you?

The answer is: Of course there’s more.

Writing is a journey of discovery, and one of the great pleasures of storytelling is that you discover the amazing things that dwell in your brain, things about yourself and your thought processes that you might not otherwise uncover. And besides self-expression, isn’t that the major point of writing?

So, how do you blindside yourself with your talent? You simply let go.

Get out of your own head and write on instinct. Park the perfectionist on the soft shoulder and write your ever-loving heart out. This is part and parcel of learning to be kind to yourself as you write. Your genius can’t flow steadily with someone backseat editing the entire trip. You can always swing back around and pick up the bugger when you’re ready to begin the rewrite.

And don’t begin your story fretting about how it’ll end. Your story is smarter than you give it credit for. When it’s done, you’ll see the pop-up timer.

It’s important to keep in mind whenever you pick up a pen or touch fingertips to keyboard that you’re doing it from a position on the shoulders of the literary giants who came before you, the ones who surprised you with their words, so every time you write, you should follow their lead and surprise yourself.

Sally Forth and be surprising yourself writeful.

— Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

PS. If you have roughly an hour to kill—-I know, it’s the internet and you’ve got memes to see and threads to troll—-you could do a lot worse than lending an ear to Ray Bradbury’s 2001 “Telling the Truth” keynote address of The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea.

Not only does he counsel aspiring writers to spend their time writing lots of short stories—-even if they’re mostly bad, there’s gotta be a couple of good ones in the bunch—-but he also suggests to write with joy and for fun, and to let yourself be surprised by your writing and by life.

7 responses to “Do You Blindside Yourself With Your Writing? If Not, Why Not?

  1. AS USUAL, good stuff. I’m often surprised by what I write, in the sense, I have an idea I want to blog about, so I write on said topic. Then. Then. I’m writing in a direction I never expected. I rather like that. I suppose it’s a little ‘stream of consciousness’ writing…I wonder if other people have a purpose and purposely steer themselves in that direction.

    Looking forward to watching/listening to the Ray Bradbury video. Cheers.


    • As usual, you’re too kind, but I appreciate it.

      You’re singing my song, kiddo. I approach this blog clueless and the intention is always to be brief—-soul of wit and all that jazz—-and sometimes I succeed, but most times I blather on about things that interest no one but myself.

      In any event, you’re good at what you do, and have a unique voice, so hopefully you never lose that thing that compels you to be a storyteller.

      L8r Sk8r


      • Okay. You cannot call me ‘kiddo’ and then add some 8s in what looks to be some sort of SMS texting language which I barely speakth.

        Thanks for the compliment. It’s so nice to hear supportive and funny comments and remarks, as I never tire of being told how unique I am 😛


      • Miss Lani,

        Your note has opened my eyes to the folly and wrong of the course I have pursued of late in my improper usage of both the term of endearment “kiddo” and the number 8.

        All night I have been pacing my floor, trying to decide what course it was my duty to pursue, and I have decided to answer you as frankly as you desire.

        I will not attempt to excuse myself, for I deserve your anger, but I will only say that I was myself deceived in my own impressions. When you utilized the terminology “yo”, I believed that we were congenial, and that I could abandon formality.

        Familiarity has proved my error, and for that I must apologize.

        I am, Ever A Blogger,

        Mired in Mundanity


    • I cut my sci-fi baby teeth on Bradbury. I’ve matured—-not the proper term, but you know what I mean—-to meatier material now, but I still admire the man’s attitude towards writing. Writers simply aren’t cast from the same mold anymore and more’s the pity.

      Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.


  2. Pingback: Why I Love Lists | Life, the Universe and Lani

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