To surprise your reader, your writing must first surprise you

The secret: Let the bloodhound run

Photography and writing are similar. Both work best when we cede control. 

Denise Pyles helped show me the connection with this:

“Allow the picture to emerge, and then make the photograph through your lens.” 

Denise’s precise word choices reflect the power of letting creativity lead us

Don’t ‘take’ a photo. Let it show itself, and then make the photo—and this is key—through your own lens.

So it with writing. 

I used to insist on being in charge of my writing process.

I saw writing as an unruly puppy—something to keep on a tight leash and train. But the act of writing is a full-grown bloodhound. It’s capable of picking up scents and following trails we would otherwise miss.

But we have to let the bloodhound run.  

It’s fine to write with a plan. Have an outline, if you prefer. But then let the writing process lead you. Observe what emerges, and shape it through your own lens. 

To surprise and delight your reader, let the writing surprise and delight you first. Let the bloodhound run.