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: