Writing is the act of being brave, even when you’re scared as hell to put yourself out there.
Fear of the truth, of what is unearthed in those vulnerable moments when our fingers strike the keyboard and emotions and feelings spill onto the page, staining it like a fallen glass of rich red wine on a crispy white shirt.
What are we afraid of?
That we’ll be rejected?
That people won’t “get” it?
That it’ll never be good enough?
Ultimate bravery is writing the truth, your truth, whatever that may be. Whether it’s fiction, epic fantasy or YA or Sci-fi, or memoir or poetry, a writer’s truth is whatever comes out unfiltered, unaffected by what anyone else “might think” about it.
I’ve been so afraid to write about certain topics, namely about my coming out and my experience. My childhood was, looking back, truly wonderful. But because of the secret I kept so closely guarded, I see everything through a vastly different lens; sometimes it makes me laugh, others I cry. For the longest time, I
wouldn’t couldn’t write about it because I either didn’t want to process it all and put the pieces together, or I was afraid to let my family see my truth.
But it’s my truth. Not theirs.
Whatever I write is about ME, not about them. It’s how I see the world, how I process my history. Nothing is reflection on anybody else but me.
I really admire my friends who write memoir or nonfiction. They are their own heroes. They are my heroes. They are the definition of #brave; they have the unique ability to examine the past and relive it, scene by scene, word for word. They are immortalizing their exact experiences and defining them. And they’re damn good at it! It makes me green with envy. I can’t do that because I can’t relive the scenes that matter the most frame by frame. I’m not that brave. I fictionalize my truth. But I thank these brave memoirists for challenging me to try.
I write to make sense of the world, to process experiences, ideas, feelings. To reflect back and fit everything together. It’s for me. And I’ve discovered for myself — even though I teach this in my classes — that it’s so important to retain your voice, your uniqueness, your #truth when you write.
Otherwise, what’s left?