I’m reading The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg, and a couple of things she says in it really resonated with what I’ve been thinking and feeling about writing recently.
I mentioned before that I was scared when I had my other blog, and I want to strive to be really honest this time around. But that doesn’t mean it’s not still scary. And I guess what she helped me realize is that it should be scary, writing, if we are doing it correctly, because we are not avoiding the things we are afraid of.
“What we avoid corrupts and deforms us—we are always twisting away from it. And it shows in our writing, in the way we sit and walk.”
So if I’m avoiding things in my writing, whether it be because they are too true, or hit too close to home, or are too scary to think about or put out to the public, I’m being corrupted in a way by that avoidance. If I’m constantly skirting the real issue, the deepest, most meaningful things in life, because they are too hard to write about, it will come out in my writing. People can see through walls we try to put up, in life as well as in writing, at least if they are paying attention.
Even as I write this, I’m thinking about all of the deep, true things I could write about, and it scares me a little. A big part of me wants to ignore them, to write above them, around them. I can be entertaining with surface level writing, and maybe I can even go a little below the surface to keep people engaged for a while. But really, who wants to read that junk? The reason I even started writing almost fifteen years ago (What?!?! Talk about scary) was to have an outlet to talk and think about the real stuff, the stuff I thought none of my friends wanted to talk about or know about me, my deepest darkest thoughts and secrets (like any good high school diary should be). So why, now, should I betray those first desires, that first decade or so of writing that was only ever for me, precisely for my deepest and scariest self?
There are enough people in the world writing just to be heard, standing on top of hot-button subjects and giving their boxed-up opinions about them. And I guess there is a place for them. But I want my place as a writer to be in people’s hearts, and in order to do that I have to write from my heart, from what is really going on inside of me. I don’t want to twist away from the real things. I want to write truth.
(Some of you may be wondering, “Is she ever going to actually start writing about all of these things she keeps talking about writing about?” Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out now, won’t you.)