Writing Raw

Are you all apologized out this week?

Excellent.

I’d like to discuss a new writing topic: sharing difficult stories.

I once said that writing what you know is terrible advice. I stand by that blog 115%.

However, for those writers that feel the need to write what they know, deciding to do so is often the first step in a long, painful process.

Recently, I was approached about how to write on some very personal subject matter. Without it, the triumphs of the story weren’t as meaningful.

That didn’t mean it was easy to write. However, the decision had been made that, no matter what, this deep rooted pain was going to be the story. How to make it sound real without making it sound whiny, victimized, or a slew of other negatives?

Here’s the truth: it’s easy to let our emotions take center stage when we write personal things. To be whiny, to be a victim. Hell, it’s from YOUR point of view. Recall in the apology blog when I told you to keep it short and sweet because the more you think about it, the more pissed off you’ll get?

I’m going to give you just the opposite advice this time.

Let it all out, my friend.

I truly believe that to write the tough stuff, you simply have to sit down and write it all exactly how YOU feel it happened. Let every hurt, every scar, and every insult just pour out of you. Cry about it. Scream about it. See red. Play the victim. Feel pain. Take no prisoners. Throw everyone under the bus. This is YOURS.

Are you a mess, now?

Good.

Walk away.

Leave it for a day.

Return.

Deep breath.

Edit.

It’s time to take that puppy from raw to personal, deep and meaningful. You’ll find that you’re much clearer about a written situation when you can come back to it. It’s almost like a time machine or a second chance.

Give it a try.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Experimenting

Want to know when I get the worst writer’s block?

At the end of the day.

After my brain has been used and abused for one hundred other things – walking, driving, uploading, downloading, organizing, talking on the phone, remembering how many ounces are in a typical glass of wine. The usual.

Perhaps you can relate.

See, I never thought of myself as a morning person. In actuality, I was never much of a night owl either. I was more of an 11-7 type. So while there are articles written about how much smarter night owls are or how much more satisfied with life early birds are (why so many bird references when talking about times of day?) I never really related to those articles. I was neither.

Until I decided to experiment.

After all, as writers we’re required to experiment. Even someone simply handwriting a letter or a document experiments with the size of their letters, the angle of their cursive, and similar.

I experimented with what time of day I wrote for myself. This was writing anything from a journal entry to a manuscript.

I started with the evening because that was by and far the easiest. My work for the day was done. I could turn off my phone and not have to worry that I was missing something urgent from a writing client.

That was short lived.

I prefer a dental filling to having to pound out 1,000 words late at night.

I know this factually because I just had one done. A day after I’d tried to write 1,000 words at 8 P.M.

Next, I decided to try the lunch hour. After all, I get a lunch, right? That’s not asking too much from the world.

Turns out, it was. I could never get to my zen place. I was so worried about my phone call with Suzy and my appointment with Jack and my meeting with Mary and those paragraphs I had due to Lindsey.

Finally, I opted to try the morning. Just typing it, I hear the loud groan of displeasure echoing through my skull. My arm even twitched a little like my brain unconsciously asked it to slam down on the alarm clock, ensuring an additional five minutes of rest.

Guess what? 5 A.M. is the lucky charm. I give myself until about 5:30 to eat breakfast (cereal) and make coffee (usually I set a delay the night before so I don’t have to remember how to grind beans). Then I sit down and the words just flow without prompt. I could write for hours. In reality, I write for about one and a half before I start about morning chores like walking dogs and showering for work.

Experiencing writer’s block? Try switching up what time of day you write. It’s a little thing that makes a big difference.

PS: Who knew I was an early bird?