There are some days when I feel like writing is the bravest thing I do. My friends don’t always get this. I spend my free time sparring and learning to escape various choke holds and headlocks. That’s interesting, sure. What I think is truly brave is trying something new, even if you might fail.
I do that without hesitation at Krav Maga classes. I’m often the first to volunteer to try a new multiple-attacker scenario*. The gym has become a safe place. If I fail, they’ll let me try again and while they may tease me about face-planting into the mat—yes, it happened—it’s a supportive environment.
I’ve been trying to translate that same mentality to my writing. Not just in a ‘write a heroine who doesn’t quit’ blasé way. I mean making myself try new things and be fearless about it. When I started Cloud Nine I wasn’t sure I could write something that wasn’t paranormal. Then I finished and it’s the best thing I’ve written. I love it. Some day maybe you’ll get to love it, too.
There’s truth in writing. All my favorite books have an emotional honesty. Things go wrong. Things feel wrong. As a reader you want to fix them. Those are the books I love and the kind I strive to write. In order to do that you have to go back to the old adage, “write what you know.” That doesn’t just mean writing about events from your life, but exploring emotions. Doing so is definitely a revealing process, but it can add depth to your writing. At least, it did for me.
Now I’m trying to continue giving that same emotional vulnerability to new projects, which is both difficult and incredibly exciting. A month or so ago I started working on another young adult thriller. Nothing paranormal. It’s fun and cheeky and when it’s complete I think it’ll make readers smile. But writing it (in progress) doesn’t completely terrify me.
So, I started a second something new. While Cloud Nine is out of my hands for a bit, I’m going to be brave and I’m going to work on something entirely new to me. I’m several thousand words into an adult contemporary romance. It’s me, so I’m being sneaky and working in fight scenes, but it’s still two normal, completely human adults falling in love in the same world we live in now. It’s an exercise in character dynamics, and I’m really enjoying it even though I’m out of my writing wheelhouse.
What about you? What fearless thing are you working on?
Also, to those friends who say their work isn’t good enough and want to quit, watch the video below. Remember, it’s always going to be a little scary, but it’s worth it.
* Requests for Write Like a Fighter posts on multiple-attacker and enclosed space fighting have been received. Yes, they’re in the works. Soon, my pretties. Soon.
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