One piece of writing advice that I’ve really tried to take to heart is “Write what scares you”. I feel like some of my best, most authentic pieces have come from trying to follow this adage. But how does one do that? Like many things, writing what scares you is far easier said than done, but below are three things that have helped me as I’ve tried to tap into the parts of myself that would rather stay safe out of sight.
- Take some time to be alone
A lot of times, there can be few things more helpful than writing with a partner or writing in a group. I don’t know what it is, but some of my most positive writing experiences have come out of group writing. But when you’re trying to write what scares you, it’s best to take some time to be alone. If you haven’t spent much time on your own, here’s a prime opportunity to get to know yourself a little better.
- Allow yourself to be uncomfortable
Sitting with your deepest fears is not a comfortable experience. It’s not something many of us enjoy doing. You’re going to want to squirm away and do something, anything else. But like most things in life, the uncomfortable things are often the things most worth doing. Give yourself permission to feel uncomfortable and stick with it.
- Get curious about your emotions
If, as your spending time alone, you stumble across something that makes you uncomfortable, get curious about that emotion. Engage with it, rather than suppressing it or trying to make it just go away. In order to write what scares you, it’s not enough to know what that thing is, but you’ll also need to know why – why does that thing scare you? Because chances are the reason it scares you is the same reason it will scare someone else. It will be the thing that makes your piece resonate.