Instinct vs Intellect

Hemingway said ‘the first draft of anything is shit’, and it’s undeniable that the second draft is where we begin to comprehend what we’re writing (insofar as we ever will), and begin to shape it according to a plan. But an overwritten manuscript is to be avoided as much as an underdeveloped one, and knowing when to stop is as important as knowing when to have another pass. Summoning the courage to begin again is an indispensable skill. So is knowing when to dust off that raw early version and reinstate it. In this workshop we will look at fiction-writing in the context of the balance between trust in our talent and the pursuit of a declared goal. We will discuss the matter of inspiration: is it a precious, finite resource, or does it arrive rather through diligent application and patience? At what point should we analyse what we are writing? How much should we plan ahead, if at all? We’ll try different exercises that seek on the one hand to throw randomness into the mix and let pure instinct lead the way, and seek on the other hand to define our intellectual goals and test our work against them.

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