Vulnerability is one of the most important tools for a fiction writer. If we don’t own our sadness, anger, insecurities or joy how can we expect to create authentic characters? How do you convey love, heartbreak, or betrayal without remembering how it felt? That kind of uninhibited writing is scary, but people respond to it. Your truth reaches out to the reader’s truth and somehow, over a river of fiction, a bridge to reality is built.
Growing up, I expressed my feelings through writing poetry. Prose became my focus as I got older, but last year during a difficult time I returned to my first love and wrote a poem. It contained such raw emotion that I didn’t want anyone to read it. Yet it was so authentically ME that I longed for it to be heard. Hours later I found myself in a writing forum known for being particularly brutal. I still don’t know what possessed me to share the poem, but it was one of the best received pieces I had ever posted. I was shocked at the positive reaction it stirred.
I still struggle with writing vulnerably. I care too much about what people think and I have to make a conscious effort not to let it flatten my voice. I don’t want to write with my guard up. I want to write messy, ugly and afraid. I don’t want paper characters that cry alligator tears. I want their names, flesh and words to be as real as the person sitting next to my reader on the train.
That day in the forum the hurt deep within me reached out to the hurt in someone else. Our differing styles, backgrounds, political leanings etc., didn’t matter. For a small span of time we remembered that we’re all made out of the same stuff. That’s beautiful. That’s why I write.Do you think vulnerability in writing is important? If so, does it come naturally to you?
(image from freedigitalphotos.net)