Today is a treat! One of our loyal readers and authors who will be in the Notes anthology is guest posting here today. Read this post! It's made of awesome. It talks about swords and what lies at the heart of what we should face as writers.
Welcome, C.N. Nevets!
Confront Your Inadequacy. Try writing something you don't feel adequate to write. Challenge yourself. You can do it in baby steps, but the more times you accomplish what you previously felt you could not, the more stories you will be empowered to tell. I did this with a flash fiction piece I called, "Discipline." It's a story that's inspired by the story of my great uncle, an underage soldier in the Pacific theater of WWII. I didn't feel I could do it justice, and when I look at it I know it could have been better. But I've gotten a few precious bits of feedback that tell me that, at least for a few readers, the message got across. For me, that means it was well worth while.
Confront Your Darkness. Darkness comes in a lot of forms, but the kind that you need to confront is the internal darkness. I personally struggle a lot with writing the kind of things I do whenever I'm confronted with the reality of terrible evil. This past year, I've had more than one brush with this, including a teenage suicide and the disappearance of a good friend and his wife. The darkness you face may be less Hollywood. Perhaps you write YA romance and are suddenly uncomfortable with it because of the heartbreak your daughter goes through. Perhaps you write epic fantasy and face pressure that makes you feel guilty for dealing with fantasy rather than the real world. Some writers go a long time before facing this kind of darkness; few avoid it forever. If you face it, deal with it, and then write. It's okay to take a little time to sort through something, but there's no reason to let your writing be silenced.
Confront Your Detractors. Every writer has stories that get rejected. Often times, we develop nemeses who just plain don't like our writing and want to make a point of it. Sometimes it's just a bad comment on a single website, or an unfair review. Whether your detractors are critics or those annoying kids in your writing class, you cannot write in order to avoid their scorn.
Confront Your Supporters. Perhaps the hardest thing I've yet done in writing was to submit, "I Need This," to Domey, Michelle, and Scott.The writing itself was risky. The voice thick and easily misconstrued in a blind reading. The topic was dark, and portions were frankly vile. The Literary Lab had shown some confidence in my writing during the Genre Wars contest, and I didn't want to jeopardize my standing in their eyes. Writers spend so much time being rejected, it can be very hard to risk losing the support of those who have accepted our writing -- but you can't write for them any more than you can write to avoid your detractors.
Confront Your Self-Image.
A lot of this can be boiled down to this:
Confront Your Inside Voice. When it comes to writing, use your outside voice. I'm not saying there's no place for restraint in language, or for quiet prose, or for still moments. What there's no place for, though, is fighting against your self and holding yourself back.
The benefits of writing bravely are many, from self-satisfaction to improved quality. Sometimes, the benefits are even practical. I'm currently finishing up a novel, Sublimation, that I will be querying for publication. I've had to write bravely several times in the course of this work. When I posted a synopsis and a quote from the book on my website, it got the attention of one of my writing heroes, who then reached out to me to express his appreciation and support. That has been a tremendous encouragement to me -- and it could not have happened if I had not taken the leap into writing bravely.
(p.s., If you care to read, "I Need This," you can do so by going to to the http://www.nevets-qst.