Let’s Get Honest – Writing Your Truth

Welcome back, it’s been a while since I have written about writing your truth. Today, instead of giving you tips on writing your truth or how to be vulnerable, I’m going to share something from my life.

My life inspires my writing, and I think it’s safe to say that’s true for most writers. I mean, what else are we going to write about if not our life. Even if you write fiction, fantasy, horror, little things in life will inspire things in stories. I’m going to preface what I’m getting ready to tell you by letting you know that I’m not sharing names, but I will let you know that I am talking about my Dad.

Alright, Dad has inspired me recently to start writing children’s story. Using the word inspired makes it sound like a good thing that he has done, but it’s really the negativity that he has added to my life that has inspired me.

First off, I’ll cover the good he has done. I know he is a good person, I can trust him to be there if I need him, and he did the basic things that parents are supposed to do to take care for their kids. He makes me laugh, and we have had good times together, and I still like being around him, but he has also hurt me in many ways. He wasn’t and still isn’t, big on practicing what he preaches. He often told me things that I should and should not do, but I constantly saw him breaking those rules.

He was somebody I was supposed to be able to trust, but, as I got older, I started questioning that trust. He also expected and wanted me to respect him, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. As I got older, I started questioning this blind respect I was supposed to have for him, and he didn’t like it. We’ve had our fair share of arguments, most of which revolve around this concept of trust.

Now, I know respecting your parents and elders can be a touchy subject for people. I know there are quite a few people like my dad that believes you’re just supposed to respect people older than you simply because they are older. I’m not one of those. Hear me out, I do think you should respect older people at first. Just like parents deserve respect from their kids from the get-go just because they are their parents. That said, if the older people and parents show you, on numerous occasions, that they have little to no respect for you and your boundaries, then you have every right not to respect them as much. Simple as that.

But that’s where my Dad and I bump heads all the time. We’ve had numerous arguments and it all comes back to the same thing. And it doesn’t matter how much I try to explain how I feel to him, he doesn’t listen, which, ironically, is something he tells me I don’t do. He doesn’t have the respect for me that he expects me to have for him. Growing up, I did respect him, but it wasn’t until I hit probably 12 or so that I started to really realize the injustice.

I live very close to some cousins, and when I was younger, we would ride bikes together and play, but my Dad hated it when I played with them. I never got an explanation as to why, but if my Mom wasn’t home, he wouldn’t let me go see them. Now, I did do bratty things growing up, but what kids don’t? I snuck out of the house once to go play with them because they had a swingset. I got caught, of course, but I didn’t do that again.

If it wasn’t for my Mom, there are a lot of things I wouldn’t have gotten to do. It seemed as if my Dad didn’t want me to be a child. I could be a kid, at times, when I was with my parents, like when they took me on vacation and such, but at home, I was supposed to be seen and not heard.

The fun part about growing up is I was pretty much grounded my entire childhood. I know I did things that pissed my Dad off, which is why I got grounded, but for the most part, I had no clue as to what exactly I did. The one thing I can remember is I spent the night with a friend once, and my parents asked me to call before I went to bed. I forgot to call. My friend and I were having fun and then we crashed. There was no between time where my mind went, “Hey, Felicia, we need to call home.” I apologized for forgetting, but that wasn’t good enough. My Dad told me I would never get to spend the night at a friend’s house again.

Now, I will say this, my Dad didn’t hold strong to those declarations, but whenever I managed to upset him, he drudged up every little infraction I had made growing up and he would punish me for them all over again. Like I said, I don’t remember much of the “bad” things I did as a kid. Trust me, I’m sitting here trying to remember things from my childhood, but I’ve realized I’ve repressed most of those negative moments. I can remember the fun I’ve had, but I don’t remember much of the yelling I got from my Dad.

When I got older, I began to realize a lot of my Dad’s problems stemmed from his childhood, but he doesn’t see these things and this causes us to be unable to move past these problems.

But my Dad loved yelling and still does. He sucks at sharing his feelings in any other way. If a friend asked me to spend the night, I never knew how to broach the subject because I didn’t know how he would respond. His favorite answer was “No.” He’d turn me down on everything.

High school was my roughest time and the roughest time for my parents. I went to an Early College where I got more freedom than a regular high school and I went stupid. I skipped classes from time to time, and I got found out and punished for it. Luckily, I was still able to graduate on time with my diploma and associates degree. (That was just a side note)

My Dad had a heart attack when I was in high school. It was scary for me, and I know it was for him. But here’s the kicker, when he was better, he blamed me for his heart problems. He had smoked cigarettes since he was 15 and had biscuits and gravy every Sunday, but I was the cause of his heart attack. That was something I had heard from him my entire life. Starting at around age 8 or 9, he would tell me on a regular basis how I was the cause of all of his problems. He hardly ever gave specifics, but most of the specifics were things that all kids do because it is part of the learning and growing process.

He doesn’t understand why I don’t respect him, which is his skewed viewpoint because I do respect him to an extent. He’s a man that doesn’t listen when I ask him to stop bothering me. He’d poke and pick at me, try to distract me from what I was doing, or just all-around bug me, and when I would say, “Dad, would you please stop,” he would say something along the lines of, “Don’t get an attitude with me.”

All humans have their faults, but I feel we should learn from those shortcomings and try to improve. My Dad, unfortunately, isn’t at a point to learn from his. He doesn’t want to face the darkness within, and until he does, he will always be the short-tempered, yelling man that I have always known. But, even though he hasn’t been the best Dad, I’ve always known that he does love me, and I will continue to love him.

So, how does all of this inspire me to write kid’s stories? I don’t have kids, yet, but I feel I can teach children something. Maybe, it might also help parents. I want to, in a cute way, share these struggles and teach them about respect, trust, and more.

Through my kid’s stories, I hope to shed light on this darkness that children and adults alike can learn from. Don’t worry, though, I’ll still be writing my other novels as well.

To sum things up, I decided to share this because I have preached about being vulnerable in your writing, yet I haven’t shown you vulnerability. I could get more vulnerable than this story, but I figured this was a good place to start. Plus, it felt good to share. I know I may get some backlash on this because people may see me as some ungracious brat, and if you feel that way, so be it. I’ve said these exact words to my Dad before, but “Only I know what I feel and think inside, just like only you know how you feel and think inside. It’s up to you to believe whether I’m share my true feelings or not.” I can tell you a million times I’m being truthful, but it’s ultimately up to you to believe me or not.

Hopefully, there is something in my story you can resonate with, and I hope that nobody views me as a brat. But, as long as you read this and it stirs up some type of emotion, that’s all that matters.

“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” – Noel Coward

FYI:

Make sure you grab your copy of Loved by Death here. I am going to make it available, soon, on other sites as well.

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How to Embrace Vulnerability and Write Your Truth

We’ve spoken about writing your truth before. As you have probably noticed, it can get very convoluted as to what it really means to write your truth. The reason for that is because everybody has their own truth.

Today we are going to look at vulnerability, which I believe is the key to writing your truth. If you can bare your emotions on the page, then conveying a truth is going to be very hard to do.

Emotions play a huge role in writing. Not only in the act of writing a story, but in everything that surrounds it; publishing it, sharing it, getting feedback, everything.

I would say that I have only been a true writer for a year. While I have been writing for most of my life, it was only last year that I buckled down and chose this as my life. Last year was when I shared my writing for other people to read. Last year was when I put myself out there to be loved or rejected. Last year I experienced more emotions than ever before. In fact, it feels like it has been longer than a year.

When I first started this blog I said I was going to go the traditional route when it came to publishing my books. I was going to an agent and all that, but I switched to self-publishing. One, because I am a bit impatient. Two, I wanted to get my book out there for people now. That doesn’t mean I have given up hope on getting an agent, it just means I’m doing things on my own for now. Emotions played a huge role in this.

There are weeks where I feel confident and excited. Then I will have doubts and thinking about a back-up plan. But I know in my heart of hearts, writing is the only career that is going to make me happy. (That and acting, but let’s not get started on that tangent.)

The reason I am sharing this is that, as a writer, you can’t be afraid of emotions. I would hazard a guess that most writers are introverts. We don’t do well speaking out emotions out loud, thus we write them. So, if writing is how we express our emotions as introverts, how can we express our self if we don’t show vulnerability.

But What Will Others Think?

This is probably the biggest roadblock in showing vulnerability through writing. Everybody is worried about being judged. I could say, “get over it,” but that’s rude and annoying. You can’t just simply get over things. Everybody has to work through their own problems in their own time. That doesn’t mean that you can’t work through them faster, but you still have to work through them on your own.

Too often people write off these types of issues as just being in your head. They don’t think there is a real issue. But fears are fears. They are all important and everybody has the right to be afraid of things. The important thing is that you figure out what those fears and work through them so they don’t hold you back in life.

I will dedicate another post on working through these types of issues. For now, let’s look at some of the best ways to show vulnerability in your writing.

Be Open

The key to showing vulnerability is to be open. You can write a one-sided story. Even children’s books have a good side and a bad side. You can’t have light without the darkness. There is no good without the bad. A day always has a night.

When you write with openness, you allow the story to guide you. It will naturally show you where it needs to go. I don’t know how many times my outline has changed once I started writing the story because what I had planned didn’t feel right once it was put on paper.

Trust

Writing with openness and vulnerability means that you trust the process of writing. If you can’t trust the process, you will end up holding yourself back and censoring yourself. I’ve already talked about how censoring yourself is bad for writing your truth. You have to trust that the story is going to lead you to where it needs to go.

This could mean that characters you hadn’t planned on killing are going to die. Your story could plummet to depths you never imagined, but as you work your way back out, your story is going to be better for it. Trust is hard, but it’s what makes for a good story.

DO NOT CENSOR

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, you can’t write your truth and censor yourself. This is also one of those fine lines. There is a way you can go too far with your writing where it can end up causing a lot of backlash. This, in my opinion, is when you write with the purpose of being mean and hateful. If this is you purpose going into a book, do us all a favor and stop. There is enough hate already, there is no need for any more.

With that said, you can write without censorship and not be mean and hateful. If your story tells you that it needs something that many people would consider taboo, put it in there. It will be a better story for it. It can be written in a tasteful manner as well.

A big taboo subject that people are sometimes afraid of touching on is abuse. This could be domestic, sexual, what have you. It’s a touchy subject, but if stories about these things aren’t shared, then nobody is going to learn about them. People who aren’t afraid to write about these things are people who help to change the world for the better. The same goes for injustice as well.

These three tips are heavy subjects, and I understand that. Being vulnerable isn’t something anybody likes feeling. But it is a fact of life. If you don’t feel vulnerable at some point in the writing process, then you need to take a step back and see where you are holding back. Be vulnerable and change the world with your writing.

“If the book is true, it will find an audience that is meant to read it.” – Wally Lamb

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Make sure you keep an eye on Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles. You never know what kind of sale you might find.

Stop Judging and Write Your Truth

If you have been a writer for any length of time, you have probably heard the saying writer your truth. The meaning of this statement is different for everybody, but in essences, it means to be true to yourself. So much of our lives we have to monitor what we say to make sure that we don’t upset somebody. Monitoring everything is detrimental to your imagination.

I want to preface what I’m going to talk about with this statement. I am not talking about being mean or rude to people. Writing your truth is about getting to the depths of who you are. It’s not about saying things just to be hurtful or mean.

Now that that’s out of the way, we can move on.

Writing your truth is important no matter if you write fiction or non-fiction. When you write, you are bearing your soul for the whole world to see. And if you don’t, then your story won’t be the best that it can be.

Don’t Hide You

When you sit down to write, don’t try to hide who you really are. It doesn’t matter what other people think when you are writing. Writing is a safe space. It’s where you can share your deepest and darkest secrets and fears without any judgment. Spew it all out on paper. When you do, you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.

Don’t Worry About Others

So often writers go into a story thinking about what other people want to hear. When I first started writing Loved by Death, I didn’t have that problem. I developed as I started to put my writing out for people to read. The reason I didn’t care when I first started writing my book is that I was just writing to do something.

I had no thoughts of publishing it. I wrote it because my friend told me I should write a book. I went crazy with the world because I wasn’t thinking about what other people would think. Once I tuned into my writing dreams, and I started getting published in Milhaven Press, that’s when I found myself judging my words.

When I started looking for book reviews, I almost went crazy. I was literally asking people to judge my writing, and in essence, me. But we can’t go into writing with this thought process. When we do, we will hold ourselves back. We start thinking about what people want to hear as opposed to what you want to say.

Be Vulnerable

You have to bare your heart and soul on your paper. Non-fiction writers have to share everything about the story they are trying to tell the world, whether their own or somebody else’s. Fiction writers have to be able to get to the depth of their characters. There are going to characters that have actions and beliefs that some people will hate while others like them. That’s why people read books.

They want to feel the characters, and without being vulnerable, you can’t put those emotions in your characters or stories. Being vulnerable is no easy task. I get that. But really knowing you will help you to really know your writing.

I am by no means an expert on writing your truth. I am still learning. But, from my experience, I like learning things from people that is just slightly more knowledgeable than me. I don’t think anybody should feel like they know everything about something. We should all continue to learn.

As such, this is just the beginning of writing your truth. I will have many more posts about it. I will also be creating some videos about it as well. Speaking of video, I will be posting videos on YouTube on a regular basis. I am getting my first video together, so make sure you are on the lookout.

“Honesty if the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. I will be making Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles available for free on Kindle in the coming weeks, so make sure you keep an eye out so that you don’t miss your chance.