Natural Writing Forces

Natural writing forces are always at work, whether you know what they’re up to or not. They determine what time of day you prefer to write. If you finish your projects. Whether you turn to Facebook when the writing isn’t going well. If you let fear stand in your way.

What are Natural Writing Forces Anyway?

Natural writing forces exist in everyone, but the combinations or systems are unique to each writer. There are internal writing forces and external writing forces, and they work with and against each other.

I envision writing forces working like an ocean tide. They rise and they fall; they cause chaos and calm. But they’re always doing something. Somewhere in the midst is you, the writer, a sea god(dess) and you have to decide how you can work best under the ever-changing conditions.

Internal writing forces determine your writing process and they can be modified to help you be more productive and happier. Read this post by Kate Johnston | Author & Story Coach to learn how you can use your most effective writing forces to their fullest potential.

Internal energies such as confidence, motivation, joy, and fear are influenced by and, in turn, influence external energies such as family, physical health, feedback on projects, or time spent on projects.

Writers can manage and modify their personal writing forces to build an effective writing world that works exclusively for them.

For instance, once a writer discovers they get their best ideas while exercising in the gym, then maybe they could plan to go to the gym anytime they hit writer’s block.

The Foundation of Natural Writing Forces




Skill, determination, and heart are absolutely necessary when it comes to writing commercial fiction or to follow a serious career in any kind of writing. They all work together to create a solid foundation from where a writer can become better and happier. If one force is weaker than the others, the writer will feel the effects in his progress.

How do these natural writing forces influence your writing?

Skill stems from experience. You will never hear me profess that for a writer to succeed, he must be born with writing skill. Rather, it is my position that writers can actually start off with zero skill, but can grow their skills from experience, learning, exposure and connecting to the world.

Determination leads to commitment. Writing is a long, painful, discouraging journey. But it’s also filled with magic. If you can push through the brambles, the weeds, and the naysayers, then you will be rewarded with the magic of writing stories that sing through your soul.

Heart is linked to joy, fulfillment. The most successful writers are not the ones who are simply money-rich. They are the ones who are joyful-rich. The ones who can’t wait to start the day with their project. Who love to jib-jab about the craft over a cup of coffee in their pajamas—and not get paid a dime for the time they spend. Writing with heart will open up routes on your journey you never thought possible.

Internal writing forces determine your writing process and they can be modified to help you be more productive and happier. Read this post by Kate Johnston | Author & Story Coach to learn how you can use your most effective writing forces to their fullest potential.

Making natural writing forces personal

Determination, Skill, and Heart head up a complex system of emotions, feelings, desires, and fears. Each writer brings their own personal traits, moods, and energies to their work every day. Because no two days are ever the same (and we don’t feel the same kinds of moods and energies from one day to the next), the writer must figure out how to manage their system of natural writing forces for optimal performance.

For example, a writer’s internal writing forces could include:

  • Motivated by classical music
  • Short attention span
  • Increased energy midday
  • Inspiration from writers’ group
  • Overly self-critical

A writer’s external forces could involve:

  • 9-5 job
  • Noisy neighbors
  • School vacation
  • Disorganized workspace
  • Supportive family
  • Gifted time

All of those examples above can influence the writer’s work. The writer must learn how to manage their own specific system of forces so each individual trait, mood, disruption, and energy can work effectively. Negative patterns could emerge if a writer doesn’t tame unruly traits such as short attention span or disorganization.

Everyone has flaws and strengths in their writing practices. Everyone must deal with gifts and challenges in their schedules and routines. The best and happiest writers are the ones who learn what their writing forces are and how to work with them.

Knowing under what conditions you work best will help you build your best writing practices.

How can you develop your natural writing forces?

It all starts from knowing, understanding, and accepting that writing is not about slapping a book up on Amazon and selling it under a pen name to make money. It is not about letting someone else do the tedious work for you. It is not about taking the easy way out.

If you want to be serious about the craft, then it is important to begin with the abstract power and magic of storytelling.

Embrace the lyricism and the magic and the wonder. Create characters that matter to you long after the last word is written. Make your sentences sing. Take care with your writing so that it will always take care of you. Be prepared to make sacrifices, and I’m thinking more than just giving up a night of television here and there. Like, be ready to turn someone away so you can stay true to your heart.

Moving beyond the abstract and into the practicalities of writing, you need to be educated in the craft. Whether you take an online class, hire a coach, join a writers group, or invest in writing handbooks, learn from those authors and mentors who fit your needs and style.

Understand the lay of the land when it comes to marketing and publishing. Always remember that the finished product is actually of lesser value than what you learned during the journey. Learn how to edit and proofread your own work. Your eyes shouldn’t be the only eyes to examine your work, but you need to understand what editors or beta readers are talking about. Self-editing will also help you learn more about your writing strengths and weaknesses.

If you dedicate yourself to the points above, all of which are related to determination, skill, or heart, you will develop and shape your personal writing forces that complement your vision for your writing journey.

Determination, skill, and heart all weave together to build a solid foundation for any writer to learn, create, and work. The better you know how you operate under certain circumstances, the easier it will be for you to establish writing practices that will help you be a productive, happy writer.

Can you identify some of your natural writing forces? Are there some that clash with each other? Any that have stood the test of time?

Have a writerly day!

12 thoughts on “Natural Writing Forces”

  1. Thanks for this thought-provoking post, Kate. The “winners” of my internal forces (my love of kidlit, the never-ending learning process, the joy of entertaining myself (and my readers) during the writing and revision process, and my enthusiasm for making up new stories) vacillate from week to week. Now that I’ve recognized this, I try to not let the “downs” of self-doubt and despair overwhelm me, knowing that I’ll be ruled by the “ups” again soon. Three of my external forces, my writing group, my kidlit facebook community (fashioned through several different groups), and my blog readers help smooth over the rough spots. Onward!

    • Jilanne,

      I find that my internal forces are easier to manage than the external ones. BUT! When skill, determination, or heart falter I am in major trouble! I realize that I heavily depend on all three of those to soldier me through the self-doubt and despair.

      Indeed, our faithful readers (thank you!) are a conquering force. So important to have even just a handful of people who can push us forward. 🙂

    • Thank you, Andrea!

      Oh absolutely, ‘heart’ is near and dear to me too. It is ‘heart’ that started me on this journey, and it is ‘heart’ that truly keeps me going, even through the worst of times.

  2. Wonderful insight, Kate. All three of those things are key for writing success, for sure. If one wavers, the other two won’t be able to pick up its slack. For example, if we’re not determined, no matter how much skill or heart we have in the game, the work won’t get done.

    • Hi Carrie,

      Some writers might feel stressed thinking they need all 3 to be successful, especially the “skill” part. They might worry they don’t have enough skill to carry them through. But I kind of think that we have enough skill to do what we need to do when we need to get it done. And when we need more skill, we earn it by continuing to work hard and being willing to learn. That’s where determination and heart help out. They’re like playmates. 🙂

  3. You hit a lot of nails bang on the head here Kate. The bottom line is passion, we have to love what we do despite the ups an downs and life interruptions that come with it. Anyone who thinks they are in it for the money are sadly mistaken – unless of course they are well known already established authors in the public eye. 🙂

    • You’re right, Debby. This is where many beginning writers get stuck. They involve themselves in writing either for the wrong reasons or with unreasonable expectations. Heart has everything to do with that. Gotta write because you can’t live without it.

  4. Beautifully said. I’ve never thought about these variables before, but you’re right. You gotta have all three if you’re to succeed. Thanks for sharing your idea here.

    • These are the “Big 3” in my mind. And I came to this conclusion after years of trying to figure out how to be a writer when there are so many reasons not to be a writer. 😛 Other variables come into play, certainly, such as time and habitat, but I still think those fall under one or more of the Big 3. Thanks for commenting!

Leave a Comment