“The secret of good writing is telling the truth.” – Gordon Lish
I am a truth-teller. I can’t lie. It looks bad on me and I truly just can’t pull it off, besides special circumstances, like having to tell my students goodbye like it’s a normal day, when secretly I know we are going distance learning and I probably won’t see them for some time. (This didn’t happen today, but it did happen in the fall.)
So then why would telling the truth be harder when you are writing instead of talking?
Well, it is.
Especially when you are publishing your writing for others to see, but sometimes even when you are keeping it for yourself.
Writing something down makes it real. I believe that humans have a tendency to stick to writing about something they know well, with at least some of it drawn from a true experience.
Many times, these things you are writing are not fun and dandy. Like I’ve written before, they are the stories of the things that we hold closest to our hearts and have cut us the deepest. Writing through those things means reliving it, admitting it, and then sharing it for others to see or hear.
It’s not only hard for your own emotions, but it is difficult knowing that those you love will most likely read your words.
I think about this a lot as most of the things I care deeply about writing are experiences I have endured. And, any experience has multiple sides and viewpoints that go along with it. Sharing my own is risky. I think writing in general is risky.
But, when I think about the best pieces I’ve read, they are brutally honest, real, and uncomfortable. These pieces are the ones that move me most.
That’s my goal as a writer – to move people. It’s probably all writers’ goal.
And that, my friends, is where the art of being tactful comes in. 🙂
love always, caitlin