No matter what area of your life you’re looking at—your relationships, your career, or your art—taking emotional risk is incredibly hard.
It just is.
Sometimes it gets easier. Sometimes you meet that wonderful person who deserves your trust. Sometimes your willingness to be vulnerable pays off and you connect or grow in a way you never thought possible.
But even if you become a Jedi Warrior of Emotional Risk-Taking, each time holds its own new risk. And each time, fear will try to get in there in some way and stop you.
Out of the three basic elements of a story—character, plot, and setting—setting often turns into the neglected stepchild sweeping up ashes in the corner. And for good reason. It can get tedious to describe an imaginary place that you can see clearly in your mind’s eye, but the reader can’t. On the other hand, it’s sometimes tempting to use too much detail, bogging the reader down with unnecessary words that only add confusion to the story.
We’re on the brink of autumn and it seems like everyone is starting something new. School is back in, classes are starting, and most of us are trying to figure out a way to balance work, life, and writing. It’s easy to say “This weekend I’m going to really sit down and get some writing done” and much harder to actually do it. If you’re really looking for the best way to make time for your writing then you have to make yourself accountable.
Here are just a few ways you can make the commitment to show up for your writing.
Every writer knows that bad writing usually includes one-dimensional characters. Readers aren’t satisfied by a story in which the heroes are sugary sweet and the villains seem motivated only by pure evil. Not only is it difficult to get emotionally attached to characters with superficial personalities, but their actions don’t add much to the story. We already know what they’re going to do before they do it, and why. Because they’re good. Or because they’re evil. Case closed.
Not just anyone can be a writer.
Common wisdom says that writing takes persistence, a relentless belief in your own imaginary worlds, and the kind of thick skin that can take constant rejection. And yes, the pursuit of writing does call for all of these qualities, but perhaps hardest of all is the subtle demands it makes on a person’s store of courage.