The Right to Write: Honesty’s Shy Younger Sister (book club)

image by Lívia Cristina L. C.

image by Lívia Cristina L. C.

I’ve been blogging for eight years now and the time seems to have passed like a breath. In the beginning, I was more concerned about communicating a message than I was about the craft of writing. Those early entries are simple and true. They make fine reading. But there is one thing missing from my first posts…me.

When I read through those earlier works, there is not one inkling about the woman who created them.

This week in our readings of The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life, Julia Cameron talks about the need for honesty in our writing.

This kind of dissonance, this sound of falseness, is what creeps into our writing when we use it as a place to hide something rather than reveal something. Writing is sheer—like a silk scarf—and the shape of our odd emotional furniture always shows beneath its drapes…

In my early writing, I hid behind the words. Rather than open the messiness of my life up for public consumption, I handled my message with kid gloves—making sure my hands did not get dirty.

Why? Why would I deliberately rob my words of warmth—hollow out any real connection the reader might make?

Cameron calls it honesty’s shy younger sister.

Vulnerability.

Vulnerability in writing is the enemy of grandiosity. It is the enemy of pomposity. It is the enemy of posturing; the enemy of denial…Vulnerability in writing is health…

But it is also really, really scary. Cameron touts writing as the antidote to this fear.

…once I put something on the page I am also rendered a little less vulnerable. I have created for myself a piece of turf on which I am willing to stand.

How about you? Does writing make you feel vulnerable? If so, can you take it to the page? As Cameron says, Vulnerability…is the part of ourselves that renders us capable of great art, art that enters and explores the heart.

Do you think it is worth the risk?

Three more chapters next week: Dailiness, Voice, and Form Versus Formula. See you on the page. The winner of The Girlfriend’s Short Stack is Carol! Yay! Congratulations, Carol. If you’d like a chance to win a piece of Vibella Jewelry, visit this post

Week 8: In Praise of Happiness
Week 7: Writing as Prayer
Week 6: The Letter
Week 5: I Go Alone
Week 4: Witness
Week 3: Invite the Muse to Tea
Week 2: Write from Love
Week 1: Start Where You Are
Introduction: Invitation

Above image by Lívia Cristina L. C., sourced via Flickr, used with permission.

Comments

  1. says

    Thank you. I’ve been wrestling with writing more from a more raw honest place without coming off as either a victim or an attention hogging self. Maybe I should pick up the book.

  2. says

    My writing definitely took a turn toward the vulnerable and honest after my health crisis in 2012. I think at that point I realized I had nothing to lose….. I needed to get the words out, and I didn’t really fear what the response might be any more.

  3. says

    I’m an introvert and it’s never easy for me to get out there and talk to people. Revealing my thoughts and emotions through blogging is really a bold move for me. It makes me vulnerable and open to people’s criticisms.

    I’m supporting you in your struggles and cheer you on your triumphs as a writer. It’s never easy.

  4. says

    I’ve missed so many weeks of this and had to take a break to do the 31 Days challenge. There’s only so much I can do! I need to get back to it though because I’ve come to realize that I’m concentrating so much on my blog posts that I don’t have time to write all those other ideas rolling around in my head! And a friend suggested that I take a small break from the public writing and just write for me. Kind of what Julia says. So, I’m writing that latest-idea-turned-book and not worrying about if it’s good, right, too many storylines woven into it, fit for publishing yadayadayada. I’m just going to write. It really takes the pressure off when we do that, doesn’t it?

  5. says

    Hi Laura,
    Yes, yes, and YES! Each time I hover over the “publish” button, I feel as though my heart and soul is lying open and unprotected – vulnerable. Each time revealing just a little more into me. I also feel as though the enemy works overtime to get me to stop because I have people I love dearly in my life who either do not “get” why I do this or disagree and think it is silly. Although I have written for quite a while and the blog has been live for almost two years, I only decided to publicize 6 months ago. That’s when the vulnerability really felt intense!
    I loved this post … thank you so much for blessing me today.

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