Writing is Vulnerability

Writing is hard. So is letting someone else see your writing. And most of all, hearing what they have to say about it.

Happy Friday, writing friends! A bit of a short post today, but there are some things on my mind this week that won’t take up as much time and space as usual.

Recently, I’ve done a lot of things in my writing life that have been putting my vulnerabilities to the test: I sent my first book baby off to a developmental editor (and got all the comments back this week), I’m publishing this book baby next year (so promoting it a lot), I am entering writing contests, I am preparing to query (again), and I opened a freelance business (more on that at the end of this post).

Needless to say, I’ve been busy, both mentally and with my time. And besides just keeping me busy, they have exposed me to not only hearing and accepting criticism but asking for it as well.

That’s rough.

But it got me thinking about the process of writing itself. While all these activities have opened me up to a place where I have to leave my vulnerabilities out in the sun for all to see, all those things I hold dear and support my image of myself (or used to hide from others)… the truth is that we already do that whenever we write with honesty.

You see, if we write from our own lives, whether it is using experiences, emotions, or ideas with which we are familiar, we are telling truths that, more often than not, are so close to who we are as people that letting someone else see it, or even just admitting it on a piece of paper (or computer screen, whatever) is telling the world something about us. It’s a piece of us, so much so that any criticism or questioning of the things we write feel like criticisms of us both as the writer and the human.

It’s so hard to do this, even in the privacy of our own homes, but it is so important to being a writer. Lending our truths and our vulnerabilities to our stories makes them real and gives them more connection and depth. Without it, the story is shallow and meaningless. And without letting others offer criticisms, we are limiting our ability to improve ourselves and our craft.

So yes, it’s hard to let other people see these things, to open yourself up to criticism. And it’s hard to hear the critical things about our work and ourselves. But it’s vital to our growth as writers and to make our stories that much better.

So go write, go share. Don’t be afraid of the criticism. Ask for it. Embrace it. Use it to your advantage. And remember these words:

Writing is vulnerability.

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The Importance of Being Artists

Hey guys! So I was doing a lot of thinking over the past few months, encouraged by a couple of life groups in which I was involved (Bible study groups) and today’s sermon at church. The idea is the importance of art and the calling of the artist. Before those of you who are no religious run away, let me say that what I am talking about here applies to everyone.

The first book I read that started this thinking was Unlocking the Heart of the Artist by Matt Tommey in Fall of 2015. A lot of this book focused on claiming the name of “artist” and addressing the things that keep us from fulfilling that role, such as past trauma, present circumstances, and future anxieties. This resonated with me so incredibly. I truly felt like someone was reading back my own feelings. There is something to be said for interacting with people who share passions and personality traits (such as being creative).

One of the things Tommey says in his second book, Creativity According to the Kingdom, is that art bypasses all of the normal thought and logic and cuts straight to the heart and emotion of the audience. He says it a little differently, but that’s the gist of it.

Art is powerful. Art is what makes us who we are. There is art everywhere we look, in music, in books, in poetry, in paintings and drawings and nature and life itself. Isn’t it incredible that we get to contribute to that legacy?

Whether you believe it or not, whether you are professional or not, whether you have been creating your entire life or for just a little while, what we do is important. And not everyone has the passion or ability to create. Embrace the gifts and skills you’ve been given and which you have worked so hard to develop.

Art is an integral part of life. It is emotion, yes, but it is emotion with substance.

Keep creating, fellow artists. No matter the audience, even if you create for yourself alone, don’t give it up. I promise you, what we do is so important.