Living in the USA in the past few months has been troubling. As a US citizen, I’m uncertain of my path forward, as a person, and as a writer. I try to keep things fairly neutral on the Lexicon Writing Blog. I try not to make too great of waves, focus on writing and my mission statement for this blog. But sometimes you have to stand up for the things important to you and I felt the need to share this reminder with you, my writer friends and colleagues. We have the greatest chance to enact change, wherever we are. No matter where we live, what our situation is, we must never forget that we’re on the front lines of change. #thewritersresist
No one would say it’s easy to put your thoughts, your story, or your life themes out there into the world. Whether it’s through stories, poetry, songwriting, sculpture, filmmaking, screenwriting, painting, or any other sort of creation, sharing the deeper part of our souls through the things we make can be frightening.
In fact, it can often be crippling.
So crippling in fact, that hundreds of thousands of people never share their stories the way they want to.
We all have a story to tell, whether it’s the story of losing our spouse, growing up rough, dealing with sexism, racism, or bigotry, experiencing war or hunger or pain, the breakup that defined us, the trip out of the country that made us think differently. No matter how “dramatic” or undramatic the story, we each have one to tell.
But telling that story is frightening. It’s overwhelming. What if I don’t tell it right? What if I don’t convey everything I need/want to convey? What if no one resonates or people think my story is too simple, too deep, too hard, too easy?
All stories will be too simple, too deep, too hard, or too easy for someone. But those stories will also cut to the core, will tug at the heartstrings, will spur action, and will change someone’s mind.
And when we boil it down, that’s why we write. To cut to the core. To tug at heartstrings. To spur action. To change someone’s mind.
To open up the things that are hard to talk about. To make them less taboo. Less scary. Less intimidating.
As writers, we walk out into the battlefield, as the front line. We see the war zone and convey it’s cruelty and brutality home.
And that convoy is what spurs on peace. Spurs on love. Spurs on hope.
This is what really gets my gears rolling. This is why the Lexicon Writing Blog exists. If you’ve hung around here for any amount of time, you’ve read my use the phrase “get writing” a LOT. And there’s reason for that.
It’s not hard to find stories. It’s not hard to know what to write and in the technology age, it’s not hard to find inspiration either.
What’s hard is getting started. What’s hard is getting your ass in your chair to pound out your story as truly as you can.
Writers encounter a few different kinds of fear: fear of writing terribly, fear of being ridiculed, fear of saying what needs to be said. Even if you live in a country with free speech, saying your truth can still be a terrifying thing.
Even if your truth is relatively tame, we still feel an undercurrent that oftentimes, our story doesn’t need to be told.
But that undercurrent is wrong.
Fear can hold you back from the writing and hold you back from telling the truths that need to be shared with the world. But it doesn’t have to.
Because fear doesn’t need to be permanent.
Fear is temporary.
There is always fearlessness on the other side. There is bravery and courage in the midst of terror.
As frightening as it is to tell your story, now more than ever, we need each other’s stories. We need enlightened, smart, heartful people to share their stories from all sides of all issues.
Your story will change the world. Your story will change the course of the future.
Focus on that. Acknowledge the fear. Focus on the potential to change.
And get writing.