I’m a pretty reserved person. Let’s all take a moment and wait for my family and friends to stop laughing.
Now, I’m someone who toes the line, who tries to be politically correct and is very careful not to offend anyone. Sometimes it’s unintentional – I’m a Sagittarius after all. So in real life I’m careful about what I talk about, but writing strips away all those barriers and I think I’m more real in my writing then in reality and that’s a frightening concept.
There are some stories that I’ve written that make me nervous. The content I’ve written about is quite heavy and sometimes hard to read. In my first book I write about Layla, who’s a domestic violence survivor, being stalked by her abusive ex-boyfriend. It was difficult to write, because it’s confronting and honestly I felt drained after writing certain scenes. Even when I go back and read them, I leave a little piece of myself behind. It’s supposed to be that way, I never want to read or write something about abuse and be able to wave it off and dismiss it. That’s when I know it’s time to stop.
I want to be affected by the events I write and I want my readers to be affected by them too. I want them to learn from it and understand that these things are happening every day to ‘normal’ people, at the hands of men and women who are supposed to love them. But to go to these places it takes some mental preparation, because I know it’s a piece of myself out on the pages. Most times I’ve never been in the situations that I write about, and I’ve had people ask me if it’s about my personal experience. It’s often not.
My books also have sex in them. Let’s not beat around the bush on this one. I can’t write a romance without a heavy slathering of sex. It is an integral part of the experience of falling in love. I know, I could gloss over it and write in euphemisms and flowery language but I don’t, because as heavy as some of the dark writing is, the good parts, the parts that rescue the character’s soul need to be as raw and powerful as the heavy stuff. So it can be in detail and I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
One of the things that stopped me putting my writing out there, is that I was afraid what people would think about the content I write about. I certainly wouldn’t have conversation with someone about sex, in the way that I write and describe it in my books. Gosh, no. I think I’ll end it here with a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic,
“You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud.”
Yes, to all of the above. Do you? Is fear about what you create holding you back from making something wonderful?
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