“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath
You’ve heard people tell you to “Write what you know,” but what if you’d rather not?
The truth is that those embarrassing or horrifying situations that we’ve all lived through are some of the best places to mine for material.
I’m not a psychologist, but I know that writers must be tough. I’m sure you’ve handled rejection of some of your pieces already – all writers have. Now go one step further and find the strength to own your past, and transform it on the page.
A common objection from many aspiring writers would be that they would not want to expose themselves on the page in such a fashion. Their family or friends might know about these moments from their past. They may also fear the wrath of individuals involved in these situations.
Don’t succumb to those doubts.
As a writer, you have to produce and present your best material at all times. You can’t put second-rate ideas out there and expect them to be taken seriously. You have to dig deeper. You have to be courageous enough to be a writer, not a public relations specialist.
Once you resolve to do so, one issue to keep in mind is libel. That’s why you’re a creative writer! You don’t write a situation as is unless you’re writing nonfiction. You may have a germ of an idea from some specific moment in your life, but you transform it into something totally different. The characters involved are reimagined, as are the setting and specifics of the situation.
Now if that’s too hard for you, you can always just follow Anne Lamott’s advice, “give him a teenie little penis so he will be less likely to come forth.” 😉
When have you faced your fears and written about something based on a challenging moment in your life? I’d love to hear from you!