Writing Should Scare You

Hole in the ground

Confession: All of my fiction contains elements of truth. When you ask me to tell you the back story behind An Uncertain Certainty and New Year’s Eve I intentionally refrain from telling you what is true and what is false because it is not your business.

But that doesn’t mean those things didn’t happen or that they did.

I am not trying to be coy or obnoxious about this because the point of this post isn’t whether those things happened or not. Nah, this is about writing and the process of trying to produce something remarkable and worth reading more than once.

Sometimes the best way to do that is to dig so deep inside that the words on the page scare you.

But There Are Boundaries in Blogging

There are boundaries in blogging. There are stories I don’t share because they aren’t mine to discuss with anyone beyond those who are directly involved in them. There are also those tales that veer into the land of TMI.

I know exactly where some of those lines are and haven’t a clue about the others. Blame it on having had the filters surgically removed from my mouth.

Yep, I am not afraid to say anything at any time or any place. Doesn’t mean that I will. My kids have heard me say many times that just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Dig Deeper and Push Harder

When people speak of sharing their own truth I am sometimes guilty of rolling my eyes. Don’t know why other than it sounds pretentious to me.

Won’t take the time to talk about whether that is right or wrong because I want to talk about fear and writing. Some of the best work I have ever done has come from writing about things that scare me.

Some of the best things I have ever written comes from tearing the scabs off of painful experiences and ripping down the walls that hide the past.

When I push harder and try to go deeper I find more depth and new layers. People respond to that raw honesty. They are attracted to it.

I won’t always publish those words. Sometimes it is because of the reasons I listed above and sometimes it is because I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Is It Ego or Is It Fear

I don’t know if it is ego or fear that prevents me from going there and sharing it with you. So sometimes I slip into my guise as a professional writer of works of fiction and put it together there.

The stories are taken from those experiences and adjusted so that no one can say I am writing about them alone. But the piece of me are obvious to myself. They jump off of the page and I sometimes wonder if others who know me recognize them.

What I want is to publish multiple books and to be paid to do nothing but write my stories and share my thoughts. There are multiple paths to reach this place, but I am betting that my way is going to get it done.

If I am write about writing and that it should scare us then good things will happen. And if I am wrong, well I’ll just try a different way to make it happen.

Without risk there is no reward.

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Comments

  1. I’m not sure I’m as brave as you are, as I don’t really write about things that scare me. I will sometimes go off on a rant, but it isn’t the same. I’m not sure I’ve really considered exploring those dark places and I bet it would make for some good writing.

    I can already see a piece forming about “What if there was no more bacon?”

    • Hi Brian,

      I don’t think bravery is the issue for you. Just a question of whether you will or won’t. You have the guts to go where no man has gone before.

      Or at least that is how I see it.

  2. I dream of the day that all I’ll have to do is write! Every time I sell a book I think oh please let this snowball into something bigger.!

    • I think it can happen for us.

      • Agreed!

        So often I end up shelving my half-finished posts because they scare me, but when I dig them up later they’re often the bones to my best stuff! This post invigorated me to keep rehashing it. Writing should be a bit frightening…!

        In solidarity!
        ~k

        • I kind of like the scary stuff because when you strip away all of the other, you find some very interesting material to work with.

          Those bones you refer to are important.

  3. Hey, Jack,
    You ask if it’s ego or fear that prevents you from sharing. It’s both for me.
    Sometimes I don’t want people to know what I struggle with. But most of the time I don’t share things that I really want to share- the really good and meaningful, raw and honest life story- because relatives read my posts and Facebook status constantly and call me out on everything. So, I choose the safe stuff to avoid arguments and embarrassment. I would love to write with abandon. But that’s never going to happen in my life about everything. I can’t handle the backlash!

  4. I want to see your books in the airport, Jack. And I want to see mine there too…

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