I Know Your Dirty Secret

Are you reading this blog, thinking that your dirty little secret is still just that?

Guess what?

I know…

Wait, not that one. Weird-o.The other one.

You have a little voice inside your head telling you to write a book.

I know this because ever since I wrote my own book, I can’t tell you how many people have approached me with their desire to do just that themselves.

These people are realtors, stay-at-home moms, doctors, lawyers, waiters, journalists, coffee grinders, and, well, you get the picture.

I’ve concluded that pretty much everyone, at some point in his or her life thinks, “I should write a book about…”

But you haven’t done it yet, have you?

Wait, wait don’t tell me why, it ruins the fun. You haven’t started yet because…hmm.

Your idea sucks. Like really sucks. It’s the suckiest book idea to ever enter anyone’s imagination and the thought of putting it down on paper makes you nauseous.

No? Then…

You’ll get around to it. Soon. You promise. You just have a lot going on right now. Or you’re really social and don’t have much time to write.

No? Oh, I see. Well in that case it could only be…

No one will give a damn what you have to say.

The good news (which you glass half-empty people will see as bad) is that you will always feel this way. Forever. Until the end of time. It doesn’t matter how many things you have written, how long or short these written things are, how meaningful or impactful they were on your target audience.

Even the brilliant, witty Elizabeth Gilbert has these fears. And frankly, if she’s worried, the rest of us writers that have had little to no success should be worried, too.

But don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. Being fearful of your creativity is healthy. Normal, even. Allowing yourself to be paralyzed by fear, never moving forward to challenge it, however, is not.

Want to pull the wool over the eyes of your self-doubt?

It’s simple. Don’t look back.

When you stop writing and re-read and edit and change, that’s what feeds the inner voice telling you that your writing sucks. Maybe your writing DOES suck. You don’t need to be reminded of that – you just need a good editor. Duh. Which you can find once your book is complete. Which you completed because you didn’t look back.

Is this starting to make sense?

Sometimes what we chalk up to “writer’s block” is nothing more than fear or anxiety. Don’t you dare let those emotions talk you out sharing your story.

I want to read it. Share a link in the comments below.

Why “Write What You Know” Is Terrible Advice

For some of us, anyway.

“Write what you know.”

I can’t tell you how many times this advice has been lobbed at me. Sometimes I feel like it’s all I can do as a writer to fight my way through the phrase. First of all, I don’t feel like I know much of anything. Secondly, that which I do positively, absolutely, no doubt about it know…well, I find that I don’t bloom with desire to share it. Any of it. I know a lot about chocolate, but I don’t want to write about that. I know how it feels to be bullied as a teen, to suffer debilitating depression, but I don’t want to write about that, either. I know that there are people that can – that DO. I applaud them.

But that’s not me.

And frankly, dear Writer, it might not be YOU either.

If people only wrote what they knew, there are a lot of really amazing works that wouldn’t exist. Part of writing is exercising the imagination, thinking creatively, researching and learning and trying and failing and picking yourself up and starting again.

Maybe you suffered from disease. Perhaps you were abused. There’s a chance you lived despite horrible odds. Maybe you had your heart shattered into a million pieces by the person you thought was “The One.” If you want to share that story and you want to find and provide support for fellow survivors – bam. Write your story. I can’t wait to read it.

Maybe one or all of those things happened to you, but what you want to write about is a serial killer or a dude on roller skates or penguins. Then write about THAT. Just because you don’t have personal experience dealing with a serial killer or a dude on roller skates or penguins doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write about it. Write what you want to write because that’s what is going to be passion-filled and beloved by your followers (or future followers, as it may be).

Perhaps your writer’s block is due to not giving yourself artistic license to write about whatever the hell you want. 

Quit asking for permission.

Stop looking for a way to incorporate what you know into your story.

Just write.