“When you write naked, you’re doing this each time, allowing the reader a glimpse of yourself. Not everyone is going to like who you are… Strip to your bare skin and write your book in the glorious, raw mess just as nature intended.” Jennifer Probst, Write Naked, a bestseller’s guide to writing romance and navigating the path to success.
Many writers find their inspiration from their personal truths which can sometimes mean telling of a painful experience. We often see this in music; artists often reveal the depths of their soul alongside a dope ass beat, or a crestfallen melody. These sad songs are meant to hit us where it hurts so that we can relate. And when we relate, we buy the music.
The same can be said about writers. There’s a reason why they call them “tortured.” Many of the classics, the books we hold to such high acclaim are those which tell of the agonies and the fights of the human spirit. They tell of loves lost and lives wasted. They tell of unsettling childhoods and traumatic experiences. These are the stories that touch us most. We are no longer hungry for “happy endings,” but instead yearn for something, anything to pull at the heart strings. We don’t want to know that we are the only ones who hurt; we want someone else to “know our lives.”
Over the past few weeks, I’ve gone from not really knowing what my first novel would be about, to having a sudden, overwhelming drive to speak from a painful place, a place of regret and loneliness, a place of complacency and dissatisfaction. When you are dealing with your own set of demons, things that tend to hold you back from your potential, things that keep you up at night, scribbling notes in your journal with tears in your eyes, it can be especially difficult to face them right on. Writing allows for the expression of such turmoil and frustration in such a way that it is liberating. And, I think when combined with perhaps a friend or two, or even some counseling, writing of one’s own painful experiences can help with finding one’s way back into the light.
With my decision to write from a painful place, I realize that it won’t be easy. AT. ALL. There will be times wherein I’ll want to quit, change my mind, or bend the truth somewhat- albeit this one will probably be likely being that I’m writing a work of fiction. I realize that there might be speculation as to how I might relate to these characters or the situations they find themselves in. One might be tempted to ask just how true this story is, or how I was able to evoke so much emotion into the plot. A writer never, ever reveals her secrets. Just know that there will be some nights wherein a bottle of wine might be on the menu, Adele will be playing on Spotify, and a wastebasket full of tissues strategically placed a toss-able distance from my writing station.
After all, love stories are supposed to sting, aren’t they?
I promise, however, to not do this: