Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Great Writers Provoke Us

Provoke Badge

This is Day 12 in the Great Writers series. Follow along on Facebook for more updates.

Writing is an art. And all good art pushes buttons. It pokes and prods, makes people uncomfortable.

This is why we need art, why writing makes a difference. But that’s not to say that makes it any easier.

Listen: You need to quit screwing around. Stop playing it safe and provoke us, already.

If you’re going to be a great writer, you’re going to have to shake things up. Maybe even break a few rules. Here are some ideas:

  • Tell the ugly truth.
  • Pick a fight with something that’s wrong with the world.
  • Call yourself out.
  • Make a giant confession.
  • Take a risk.
  • Write something dangerous (something you’ve never written before).

Are you ready? No more prompting, no more practice. Write something that gets under our skin, that tests our nerves. Provoke us. Not for the sake of being being contentious or intentionally provocative, but for the sake of being honest.

Why do we do this?

  • Because we live in a world of lies. Of false flattery and exaggeration. And we need you, the artist, to tell the truth. To help us get out of our comfort zones. After all, that’s the only place we grow.
  • Because this sets others free. To do the same. To live freely and honestly. So get in our faces; tell us the truth. And watch the ripple effect.

The challenge

You already know what you need to do. Take a risk. Write something provocative and stand by it. Yes, you may make a few people mad, but you’ll also liberate those locked in self-doubt and fear.

Write something bold, something that moves us. Then share it. If it helps, here’s something along these lines that I wrote awhile back: We Cannot Grow Numb to the World’s Pain.

What did you write? How did people respond? Tell us about it in the comments. If you’re blogging through the series, link up here.

About Jeff Goins

I am the best-selling author of five books, including the national bestsellers The Art of Work and Real Artists Don't Starve. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on writing, publishing, and helping your creative work succeed.

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