Fearless Writing – How I Write with Wild Abandon

Fearless writing – How I Write with Wild Abandon

sk lamont Fearless Writing - How I Write with Wild AbandonOut of all the people that I’ve talk to about writing their book, finishing their book or even starting their book, the root cause that has slowed them down or even stopped them in their tracks completely, is fear. What will people think? What will my family think, my friends, an agent- fill in the blank.

The thing that stops them is worrying about what other people will think, or perfectionism which is just another form of fear- of not being good enough.

But the good news is, if you’re contemplating your first draft, you are a long way away from showing your work to another soul. But there are some important factors to consider, if you want to write fearless. The main thing to take into consideration is that this is your story, your property, and as such you need to protect it. Think of it as a tiny little sapling just starting to push its way out of the ground, at this stage in the game, you have three roles, protection, space to grow and sunlight.

1) Protection

Don’t talk about your Book

I am a firm believer in never talking about my work-in-progress, I keep it hidden away, JK Rowling has a great quote that I believe in 100%.

“I find that discussing an idea out loud is often the way to kill it stone dead.”

~ J.K. Rowling

I have seen this so many times, where people talk about their work, share it with others and in the process squeeze the life out of it!

You’re not supposed to talk ‘about it’, you’re supposed to ‘write it’! By sharing it too early you’re allowing others to steal your books power and energy, and your passion to write it. It dissipates all the energy surrounding it. Give it only one outlet through your fingers. You want it bursting forth birthing on the page. Not giving it out to the world whilst it’s not even a newborn, so that people can prod and poke. “Eww, I don’t like its eyes, it’s legs are too short, I think it’d look better with blonde hair.” What are you doing? STOP, this is your precious little baby, its fragile and needs to be protected. Wait until it becomes strong, when you ‘know’ your story, then you can open the door to respectful criticism, until then don’t let anyone else steel your baby and run with it.

2) Space to grow

The secret place

This is also your time to get to know your little sacred baby, to coddle and coax it into existence. You’re dealing with something ethereal here, gossamer like an angels wing, so hold it delicately. Don’t show it to anyone until you know what that thing in you cupped protective hands is. There will come a day when it’s ready to fly out into the world and defend itself, until then you get to decide.

Here is the key to writing fearless, to writing with wild abandon. You write the truth that is whispered in your ear and nothing but the truth. You leave nothing off the page. You do not judge it, that comes after, right now this is a safe place. A place to pour blood, guts, sweat and tears onto the page. Hold back nothing, let everything out, knowing that this secret is safe with you. You are the gatekeeper of your work, when it comes time to review your work you decide what stays and what goes. But remember, if you are in your first draft, you’re a million miles away from showing your work, if you’re protecting it. So kick back, enjoy the journey and dive in, there is nothing more exciting than the thrill of letting it all out, there will come a time later when you judge, but now is not that time.

3) Let it see the light of day

Ship it!

Finally, and don’t let this scare you, but there will come a day when you have to decide if you want this work to enter the world. If and when you decide it’s time, then and only then, you must share your work. The No. 1 success factor is shipping, in other words getting it out the door, even if it’s imperfect. The chances of being published are a million times higher than the person with the near perfect manuscript sitting in their drawer, tweaking it to death, afraid to ever let it see the light of day.

sk lamont Fearless Writing - How I Write with Wild AbandonSo cherish your work whilst it’s all yours in the secret place, decide if you want it to leave the nest, then you can sit back and see if your baby can fly.

Until that day relax, you’re not there yet.

Enjoy this special secret time, one day it will be gone.

 

What are your thoughts? These thoughts, skills and techniques are my own, they are what work for me. So if you have strategies that work great for you, then awesome! Why don’t you share them in the comments box below, along with any other ideas or suggestions, or anything else you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

What are your thoughts?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont

 


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18 replies
  1. James Stack
    James Stack says:

    Great post – I agree that fear holds us back – and being fearless let’s us write honestly. I’ve found that telling a select group of people about the germ of the book’s idea gets me motivate to write it (but that’s me). The only thing I’d add here is that your plant (book) needs water (editing) once you’ve fearlessly protected it and given it space to grow (written) it. Then we absolutely need to let it see the light of day. Thank you.

    Reply
    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      I agree wholeheartedly! I understand for some people, sharing their idea with a select group of people, definitely works for them! For me I’m a talker, if I start sharing, then I don’t stop and before I know it all that pressure I was feeling to tell the story gets an escape route and my motivation to write it becomes less. This is a great point about editing and absolutely is part of the process of bringing forth your story! Funny thing is I did mention editing in my first draft, guess it didn’t make the cut 😉 lol. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Reply
  2. DMG Byrnes
    DMG Byrnes says:

    As always, fear is often what holds us back. You make some really great points, and they’re always good reminders. I’ve heard that JK Rowling quote before and always hear it in my head when someone wants to go more in depth about what my story is about. I used to share because I was excited and I thought people cared, hence why they were asking. Something I realized though, people don’t often think the “recap” or the “summary” is very interesting, mainly because the details and the richness aren’t there to be savored. People don’t realize they want the savory bits till they’re getting only tidbits, so I’ve learned to keep my writing to myself when in the forming stages, at least for the first draft. With revising and getting your book ready to be shared, having a small audience peruse first can help you make your book stronger on the whole.

    Thanks for this post, SK!

    Reply
    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      Yes! I agree completely, when you are ready to show your work to others and definitely before it goes to an agent or is self-published, having a select group of beta readers can only make your work stronger! We as the writer can be far to close to our work to see its many flaws! Great points, thanks so much for sharing!

      Reply
  3. Margaret (Cutter) Tesch
    Margaret (Cutter) Tesch says:

    *Looking around for the “like” button*
    Oh! I guess you want me to say I liked it…with words and all. LOL Well, I liked it! I think you hit the nail on the head both with what holds us back, and how to overcome the fear. Great post!

    Reply
  4. S. C. McCole
    S. C. McCole says:

    Couldn’t agree more: fear is the enemy.

    I love your analogy of the allowing the budding lil sapling to blossom.

    I agree with you: spilling your ideas for others to mop up is fraught with peril as well.

    Painters don’t normally allow others to see their work until it’s well beyond formative – not do those who work with clay, or glass. Can you imagine Escher describing an idea to someone not familiar with his work?

    Whenever someone asks me about my WIP, I use it as a chance to perfect my elevator pitch. I only allow them to go up or down with it, never sideways and I am always the choosing what floor to stop on.

    Great Job S K.

    Reply
    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      S. C., I love your idea of using an elevator pitch and we all should be able to sum up our work in one or two sentences, without inquirer’s eyes beginning to glaze over, that’s all anyone wants to hear anyway!

      Like you said, we’re just asking for trouble when we invite people into our story, before it is well formed!

      Thanks so much for commenting and sharing!

      Reply
  5. Jennifer McCann
    Jennifer McCann says:

    Fear definitely holds me back! I always wonder what people will say. I think it goes back to my folks saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” Some things they might not think is very nice! Also, protecting one’s work was a great point! I had someone ask me what I was working on and I was very general, and they kept pressing. I eventually shut them down, but it was frustrating. Now I feel better about it – thank you! I’m not anywhere near 2 & 3, but I’m going to keep them in mind, because I will get there someday! 🙂

    Reply
    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      Jennifer thanks so much for sharing your experience. I believe a lot of what holds us back we can trace to our formative years, when our beliefs were being formed as a child. Even when they no longer serve our purpose, they can still haunt us and stop us from moving forward.

      This writing process has allowed me to write without worrying about what others will think, then later I get to come back and decide, is this something I want to share or keep hidden away for myself.

      Thanks so much for commenting!

      Reply
  6. Teri
    Teri says:

    This is so me. When I’m writing, I swear I feel 50 imaginary people looking over my shoulder. Judging every word and thought. Thanks for sharing your post. Great read.

    Reply
  7. Kim Deal
    Kim Deal says:

    This one resonates deep within me, S.K. Fear is such a demon to exorcise. I like your points of advice. The Secret Place is close to my heart as that has been a method I’ve used for years to protect my writing and alone time. It’s good to be reminded. Thank you.

    Reply
    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      Fear has always been my close companion when I try to step outside of my comfort zone. But I have discovered there is a fine line between fear and excitement, sometimes the fear is justified, most of the time it’s not. So I push myself out and over and hope to find my wings in the process. Thanks so much for sharing Kim!

      Reply
  8. Randi Anderson
    Randi Anderson says:

    Still working on #2. It’s relatively easy to do in poetry, but when I’m in a long-term project, like a novel, fear creeps in at all corners.

    I love your sapling metaphor, though, and I’m going to keep that in mind!

    Reply
    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      That’s funny that you find poetry relatively easy and yet long-term projects, like a novel, is where fear creeps in. I would probably be more fearful of posting my poetry, as I find that poetry can be so raw and soul baring. Though I have read some of your poetry and it’s pretty amazing, so if I wrote like you I would probably be more apt to sharing!

      Reply

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