Write On Right Now!: Do you feel safe enough to write the truth?- Writing Prompts & Exercises to Get You Writing Now!

Write On Right Now!

Once upon a time there was a girl who wanted to write. And that would be me. I've moved my journal about my writing life over to LiveJournal http://susanwrites.livejournal.com This blog will be filled with writing prompts and exercises so we can all write on right now! Please feel free to share your favorites.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Do you feel safe enough to write the truth?

I am rereading The Writer as an Artist an old book by Pat Schneider which she has revised is now available as Writing Alone and With Others. I tend to reread this whenever I'm about to start on a new project because Schneider knows what writers are afraid of and says it's okay and encourages us to write anyone. She gave me current mantra.

"You can write as powerfully as you talk. If you are safe enough."

I love that. It rings quite true for me. For years my writing was okay but not really going places and I know it was because I wasn't digging deep enough to write about the stuff that scares me. I couldn't because I didn't feel safe. It's only now, in a wonderful marriage with the best supportive partner I could hope for that I feel safe enough to visit the dark corners of my mind and write what is real, what hurts. Schneider says that if you can talk, any sense you have of not being able to write is a learned disability, scar tissue that "is a result of accumulated unhelpful responses to your writing."

She also says that, "For the writer, fear arises in exact proportion to the treasure that lies beneath the dragon's feet."

So we need to write toward that fear, past, through, over, kicking and screaming if need be but we need to face the fear, claim it, make it ours so it will reveal the treasure that is our writing, the stories we were meant to tell.

The last novel I finished was my most real yet. The raw kind of real that still makes my stomach lurch when I reread certain scenes and still makes me cry at the end. Now I'm gearing up to do it again. I'm glad I feel safe enough to try and write my truth.

Write on, right now.


At Monday, June 20, 2005, Blogger Kim said...

I might have to read that book. I've heard lots of people talk about writing what they are most afraid of. It was one of the tips an author gave at our SCBWI conference. I still don't get it. It sounds like lots of people agree it's one of those best-kept secrets like creating a strong character. *sigh* I am really missing something.

At Tuesday, June 21, 2005, Blogger Susan Taylor Brown said...

My two favorite books dealing with fear and writing are The Writer as an Artist and Art and Fear. For me, my writing comes from a place of fear, of having to face things I don't want to face. Nothing omigosh abusive, locked in the cellar, starved, raped whatever....but my personal fears of being so alone as a child, of hungering for the family that I didn't get, the father I wanted but never knew. So in order to tap into those stories and tell the stories I need to tell for today, I try to access the emotion that comes from those times. I don't have to write about not having a dad but I need to connect the emotions I felt as a child about not having a dad to my current story. That's what brings the emotionally honest level up a bit.

Try this - think of an incident in your childhood, (I know you've been doing this lately) time you were really emotional as a child, a happy time, sad, confused. Just sit and think about it for a few minutes then write everything you remember about the time. Not trying to make a story out of it, not worrying about a character, just try to focus on the emotion of the event. Then, when you are done with that, take a character from a current project of yours and write the same scene from their point of view.

Write on, right now.

At Tuesday, June 21, 2005, Blogger Kim said...

Thanks, that makes total sense to me!


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