Saturday, October 19, 2013

Why She Writes

Once upon a time, there was a writer who kept trying to come up with story ideas which were happily mainstream, safe, ordinary, and acceptable. Nothing that would rock the boat. Nothing that would expose who she was too deeply. Nothing that would show her own shadow side, and give glimpses into the darker areas of her psyche and soul.

She knew good writing wasn't like that, though. A truly enjoyable story - to read and to write - needs to be authentically written. A writer needs to put portions of herself in them. She needs to write what she thinks about, dreams about, is attracted to, is afraid of. And inevitably, those thoughts, feelings, desires and fears are exposed to the world. Which isn't nearly as scary as knowing that they'll be exposed to her friends. Her family. People who know her - or think they do. That's scary. That's big-time vulnerability right there.

It's a lot easier to hide from that, to write about safe topics, to share the already-shown parts of herself. It's so much more comfortable to snuggle in to the sweet and familiar, to keep the other ideas locked up inside.

Unfortunately, it doesn't inspire very good storytelling.

To get to the good stuff, she has to put herself out there, all the way. To delve into the subjects she finds secretly fascinating, pushing down the fear of exposure and rejection. She has to show Who She Is, in all of her tangled messiness.

When she does, it opens up a floodgate of ideas. Ideas which light her up, inspire her, excite her, keep her glued to her notebooks and keyboards.

It's both exhilarating and terrifying, this soul-sharing business.

And she realizes that's what writing is all about, and why she loves it so.

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