Don’t Avoid Painful Writing
Write first from the heart, from that place that makes you vulnerable.
Write so honestly and authentically that you bleed on the pages.
Write with pathos. Write with passion.
This is what is required of good writing
And this is why it is so painful.
We must reveal that part of ourselves that we’d rather hide. But this is the part of you we’re all longing to see.
Don’t hide your scars. Show them.
When asked by a family member to not write about growing up in an alcoholic household, one author gave a simple retort:
“You don’t own the intellectual property rights to my pain.”
We need you to not avoid the painful part of your writing journey. Please don’t deprive your audience of this, because when we enter into our pain, it does a few things.
It helps heal us
Writing out your junk is cathartic.
Your notebook or laptop can be a confessional booth or even a counselor.
It hears your deep hurts and pains and allows you to process them in your own creative way.
It helps heal others
Other people can identify with a certain piece of your pain.
When you share it, you help them go through the same cathartic process you’ve experience — something they may be avoiding.
This is incredibly brave, which is why it’s so hard.
It helps heal the world
The world is in pain. While beautiful and marvelous, it is full of suffering and injustice. As we share the stories that matter — the dirty, dingy stories of pain on this planet — we take the first, necessary step towards redemption.
Sharing a story of abuse or neglect, of pain or suffering, may be uncomfortable. In fact, you can probably count on it. It will force you to be vulnerable and open in ways you’d rather not be.
But it can also be a healing balm on your life, the lives of others, and even the world.
Don’t avoid painful writing. Don’t procrastinate sharing your scars. Take an honest look inward and begin today. It may be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done.
And once you’ve done this, move on to writing the ugly parts of your story.
What’s something painful you’ve been avoiding writing? Share it in the comments, if you’re brave enough.
*Photo credit: NMR Photo (Creative Commons)