Don’t Turn Away

I don’t have much to say today, just this:

The things that make you uncomfortable cause discomfort for a reason. They engender very deep feelings, and fiction written from that standpoint is often my—and I’d argue your—best. It’s fueled by honest emotion.

Now, I’m not advocating you compromise your personal morals. If you feel it’s important for you to write books without cursing or sex, if you’re writing for children—there are a variety of reasons—that’s not really what I’m talking about, and those ideas are part of your personal artistic integrity. I’m not necessarily talking about strong content or telling you to include it, but saying rather that you find the things in your particular story that make you squirm.

These things, if you’re doing it right, will be specific to your story. And when you sit down to write, you’ll find them. What I’m suggesting is that you don’t turn your face from them, because that discomfort drives. Stepping outside your comfort zone will, if you let it, push you into your truth zone. And the thing about really great fiction (whether it’s to your or my or anyone’s taste) is that it tells the truth, that it needs to tell the truth. The truth about what happened, even if it’s only in hints and whispers. The truth about people and their relationships.

In your first draft you (or at least I) will flinch and pull back, and that’s fine. Being brave is not about never flinching. It’s about flinching, being afraid, and doing that thing anyway.

Be brave. Write the living hell out of it. I believe in you. You can do this thing.

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