Good Writing Demands Vulnerability

Good writing demands sacrifice. Good writing demands focus. Good writing demands vulnerability.

I wanted to write, “Good writing demands bravery.” You do have to be brave to be a good writer. But bravery, at the very beginning, is really vulnerability.

You feel most vulnerable right before you feel most brave. When you know you have something to lose you are vulnerable. When you put your work out there for the world to read, evaluate, critique, or apply, you are vulnerable. When you type, delete, type, delete, stop and pray, then type again, you are vulnerable.

Good writing demands this seeming weakness that is actually a writer’s greatest strength. When we feel most vulnerable is when we can be most brave, most honest, most sincere.

Anne Lamott wrote, “Telling these truths is your job. You have nothing else to tell.”

When I was writing Speechless there were many times I thought, “I just can’t go there.” I can’t admit that weakness. I can’t share that struggle. People will think I’m a bad mom. Or a bad wife. Or a bad Christian. But I went there. Why? Because I didn’t want other women facing “Plan B” situations to think they were bad moms, wives, or Christians because they were struggling with things I didn’t admit to struggling with. I had to be willing to be vulnerable, so they would think I was brave, and in turn, they would be brave too.

What scares you about your current writing project? What makes you feel open (too open?) or raw (too raw?). What makes you feel most vulnerable? Spend time there today. Let that vulnerability make you brave.

Good writing also demands:

Comments

  1. I think being vulnerable is only an issue with some kinds of writing. I have been blogging since 2005, and in that time, it has been my experience that every now and then too much vulnerability makes the reader uncomfortable, so we must pick and choose what we are vulnerable about, and examine our motive for being open. Something I am researching right now with the intention of writing about, would not be served well by too much vulnerability. Sometimes, the more biblical content we have, the less need their is for it. I think for most writers, what scares them is being rejected, and that could happen without being vulnerable.

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