I was looking for a great quote about writing for a project I'm working on, and came upon this one by Margaret Atwood:
“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.”
I'm struggling with a project. Should I keep it intact as a novel, or divide it into a couple of different projects? Or, should I keep the novel as is, and write a memoir that was inspired by the fictional piece? (The Lovely Bones and Lucky were like this.)
I've had some unusual challenges in the last five years. (My brother was a real piece of work.) My oldest childhood friend is a psychiatrist, and even she said she's never heard anything like it. (I definitely don't feel proud. ;) Certainly there are advantages to writing truthfully. But what are they?
1. It is healing. Writing of sad or challenging times can help the writer work through those feelings.
2. It can help others. No one is alone. Everyone has issues they have to deal with. Reading about someone else's life lets the reader know they're not alone in their struggle.
3. It makes our writing more powerful. If our writing is true, if it lays out our vulnerability for all to see, it's going to have a strong impact on the reader.
How about you? How do you handle honesty in your writing? Have you had any blow-back or success stories because you honestly wrote? Vacillating minds want to know...