Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Writing from the Heart

I’ve learned a lot about being a writer over the years, but there’s one lesson I have to reconfirm, over and over. That’s because this lesson requires courage.

Recently, I posted on my other blog about sensing my late husband around me. I wavered for days about posting this because, frankly, it was very intimate and that’s scary. I was writing from the heart – laying it all out there – and rejection of that would have hurt.

As usual in these cases, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Others have shared their own experiences of feeling the presence of someone who has passed on. I can’t tell you what great joy that gave me. But again, I had to be reminded of the truth: when you write from your heart it will always turn out okay, even what’s bad is good.

I’ve read some authors that were truly tough to read but their work was redeemable because I could find truth within and truth is treasure. Writing from the heart results in your truth being revealed.

Again, rejection is what makes it so tough to do. You have just bared your soul to your readers. What if they reject you? Every man jack of us is afraid of that, no matter how tough an exterior we project to the world. But here is the reward – if you can bear to expose yourself you will ultimately create something good.

When I began writing Red Mojo Mama I was afraid of being too fluffy. What would people think? Would they realize I know that this is just a fun read? Would they judge me as a lightweight? Then one day, while I was laughing out loud at what I was putting on the page, the dam burst and I thought “What the hell! I’m having fun. This feels good. This is what writing is all about.” And I gave up my fear and wrote. God, it was fun.

So, if I could pass on just one tip about writing it would be this - get past your fear and write from your heart. It will pay you (and your readers) dividends in the end.


  1. Thank you. I know that nothing matters if I'm not true to myself in my writing - that, in fact, I can't write if I suppress myself ... but ... I still need the reminder.

  2. So happy you stopped by to say that. As I said, I never actually remember this lesson until AFTER I've jumped off the cliff and survived.

  3. That was a great post and what made it great was your heart! I think I know some of the emotions that race through you when you expose some of yourself to others.

    You need never fear because there are those who will support you and be lifted by you when we need it.

    And writing 'fluff' is just the way to lift the heart of a reader and let them see a life that could be. And I know Pete is smiling.

    I want to subscribe but don't see a button for that.

  4. Thank you my friend. I didn't realize it wasn't there! Just added it. You just made me very happy. I'm always hoping my Pete's smiling down at me.

  5. This is the most difficult thing of all for some writers (well, namely, me). But, in the words of the great writer, Anne Lamott:
    "If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive."

  6. So wonderful! Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Great post, and a welcome reminder. I agree with you, that when you're writing (or doing anything for that matter) from the heart, all will work out just as it should.
    Easier said than done sometimes...but always worth the effort.
    Thank you!

  8. It is one of those truths that everyone chants - but is often much harder to put into action. Thank you for having the courage to use your own painful experiences to demonstrate this...

  9. I'm really enjoying these archive posts. You're addressing all the things that have been on my mind lately and it's nice to know that someone else thinks these things, too!

  10. I know this is from an archive, but it's so true; thank you for resurrecting it. I once had a woman in my critique group writing about having a schizophrenic child, except she was too afraid of what the (then adult) child would think of her writing, so she would never truly share her thoughts. Such a shame, because it would have been a meaningful book for so many. I am currently working with another writer who has conquered her fears of sharing her true experiences, and hers is going to be a book that touches many women and lets them know they are not alone.