No one wants to be a rat.
You know, the one that tells the family secrets, betrays the trust of friends or business partners.
But someone’s gotta do it.
As Joan Didion says,
“Writer’s are always selling someone out”.
You may want to write a book, a blog, and wonder about writing the truth the way you see it. Or the way you experienced something. And then you realize you may be saying too much, or that someone may not like what story you told.
What do you do?
I wrestled with this for a while because I wanted to write stories based on my childhood growing up as one of eleven children.
That’s a story loaded with stuff about other people. Do you sugar coat? Change story lines, names and situations?
When I read this quote by Anne Lamott I had my answer very clearly.
“Own everything. If people wanted you
to write warmly
about them they should have behaved better”.
Pick your choice. Blog for real or your writing may be milk-toast-inspired.
Do you get into messes because of something you said?
If so, good. That means you have a shortcut to being honest in your writing. If not, then perhaps you can find your truth when you write. Because that is all people really want to read.
I love this writing space in this photo, yet have a sneaking suspicion that it would be hard for me to be honest and raw surrounded by pink.
My half broken laptop with the super annoying Windows 8, the draft at my window and the roll top desk I bang my elbow into as I write is where I am at. Right behind me are sharp Lego pieces I step on with my bare feet getting to my desk at 4:30 AM.
Now that’s a space that brings out the truth in me, and only the truth, so help me God.
Here are 5 Ways To Honest Writing.
1) “Tell the truth but tell it slant.
…The truth must dazzle gradually,
or every man be blind”. Emily Dickinson
Change things that don’t take away from the emotion of the writing or the events that you want to portray as having occurred in a specific way. This can be tricky yet possible. The truth with a slant.
2) Write your first draft when you are tired, uncomfortable, hungry, angry, lonely.
This will help you use your emotional and physical state to bypass good feelings and get to the raw.
3) Ditch the keyboard.
Take out a paper and pen and ask yourself what you really, really want to write if no one else would read it . Ever. Write THAT down on your paper.
Ask yourself what messages or emotions you want your readers to get after reading your writing. Write THAT down on your paper.
This may bring you closer to your truth than the keyboard initially.
4) Become a Healer
Writing provides relief for yourself and others. When it feels scary to be honest in your writing, remind yourself of the healing you can only provide others if you’re real. And take courage from the knowledge that this is how you as a writer have ultimate healing yourself.
You deserve to heal.
5) Be sinful
There is a feeling of sinful pleasure when you write the truth because you know someone won’t like it. AT ALL.
And isn’t it fun to sin once in a while?
From my edgy, drafty space to yours, know that you could do it. Actually, only you could write the truth as its known to you so if you don’t the world will never have that spot inside themselves healed in a way only you could provide.
Write your truth and you’re a hero.
Go be a hero. It’s not for the faint of heart but if you read this far, it’s probably for you.