Like the saying goes, writing is an act of courage. It’s your chance to, “Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out…”, as singer Sara Bareilles declares in her awesome song Brave.
But when you have chronic writer’s block, what is it that you want to say and how? Many people use writing to get things off their chest that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Unspeakable things like abuse, loneliness, power struggles, regret; the list goes on.
It’s also a chance to say what no one else will say or depict people/places/situations that haven’t been depicted very much.
For instance, I’d be interested in writing a character that doesn’t turn to drugs and alcohol to numb themselves when everything has gone to shit in their life. I could pull an Aimee Bender (who’s fantastic!) and have the character become obsessed with chewing on socks instead, which they learn to eat whole.
There are many ways to say what you want in writing: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, spoken word. But the beauty of creativity is that sometimes what you want to say comes out in ways you never expected it to.
For example, I consider myself an atrocious poet, but lo and behold, a poem is what I wrote after a difficult experience I had almost 8 years ago. Maybe I’ll share it sometime. One day, when I’m a little more braver than I am now.
About a year before I wrote the poem, I couldn’t talk for a month straight. I was a mime who literally had no voice to project a single word through my mouth, as a result of what was happening in my life at the time.
I’ve always been an active listener but am still working on the talking/expressing myself part. But all good things take time; it’s a learning process to be able to purge out a side of you from where it was buried for so long.
Yet, as Sara Bareilles says, :
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do/And they settle ‘neath your skin/Kept on the inside and no sunlight/Sometimes a shadow wins
What would happen if I said what I wanted to? Would I be hated for speaking my truth (then again, it makes no difference because people are hateful no matter what you say or don’t say)? Would I be pigeon-holed as a ‘type’ (oh…she’s that kind of person)?
Now it’s my turn to hear from you: what makes you brave in your writing? How do you break through to say what you need to without worrying yourself into an insomniac stupor afterwards? I love hearing from you, so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!
4 thoughts on “Brave World O’ Writing”
It depends on who my audience is in the beginning. I kept a journal while I was seeing a therapist while growing and recovering from a divorce. The audience was I (and my therapist). Most of the times I wrote what was going through my head. Grammar, usage, and content didn’t really matter.
From that experience, I wrote a book which is now published. That was quite different. I wrote and rewrote (and will probably rewrite more!). But what I wrote in the book were my truths. It doesn’t matter to me how my opinions are viewed. No one can take those away from me.
I also love to write poetry and once again, it is a completely different experience. As much as I love it, I feel vulnerable and exposed – whether it is a love poem or a humorous one – it is my most intimate means of art and I feel on display for the entire world. AND! I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Awesome John! It’s great that you allow yourself the freedom to write creatively without worrying about conventions like grammar and usage.
Those conventions become ingrained in us as being the right way to go about writing. But when writing creatively, the irony is you have to be willing to let those boundaries go and not worry about them.
And it seems like you are there my friend, so keep it up!
This was beautiful Luz, I think bravery is crucial to a writer’s success, because if you don’t write about these topics – who will? And if you base fiction on your own experiences then so what? People will always ask that question, and there will always be people who don’t believe the answer.
Loved this post!
Thank you Anne! Really appreciate your support and insight 🙂 I have to say your blog is the epitome of brave and an absolute delight to read. Keep up the great work!