I can. And honestly? It's not typically a nice feeling. But something good usually does come from it. Today we're gonna talk about how to be vulnerable in our writing.
In the past year, I've sent my critique partner all three of my finished books. The problem? All three were in the first draft stage.
First, Dandelion Dust. I wasn't too nervous because I was pretty confident that, although far from perfect, it was a pretty decent first draft.
Then, she read War Tears in the spring/summer. I was a tad nervous this time because, although she literally already knew all the plot twists, the book was an absolute disaster. Still, I was okay. It wasn't that bad and she gave awesome feedback—as always.
Lastly, this January, my critique partner sent me the last book in her trilogy. (After editing once, of course, because she's smart like that.) I began reading it and didn't say a word about how, months earlier, she'd insisted I swap her A Soldier's Freedom for her book. Some time passed—less than a week, I'd say—and then she remembered. And wanted the book. Right then.
(Being the sneaky friend I am, I quietly opened her book's file and copied its entire contents—amidst the argument of when and why I should give her my baby. So that, should she decide to revoke my rights—which may or may not have been threatened—I'd still have some reading material. She'd already shared it, so taking it back would be nearly as bad as stealing. Right?
Long story short
So why did I hesitate more to share this book than I did with the previous two? Other than the fact that I didn't want to lose a good argument... ;)
Well, it means a lot to me, obviously—every book does. But with A Soldier's Freedom it's different somehow.
It's also a book that I didn't share that much about beforehand—even with my critique partner, who usually knows more about my current project than I do. I did some blog posts about it, sure. Talked about it some. And that was good, because it made me not so afraid to open up.
But...I didn't share the heart of the story. I didn't get into the nitty-gritty and just talk about it.
Since then, I have. With my critique partner, and my mom knows most of the story now too. (Did I mention she helped me plot the rest of the series? Did I even tell y'all it's gonna be series?! <33)
And because of all that, the story means even more to me than it did before. It has a purpose, a meaning. It's a story waiting to be told.
As writers, we're called to tell those stories. Because somewhere out there, there's someone who may need to read that story you're keeping hidden behind lock and key.
Don't be afraid to talk about the hard subjects, my friends. After all, aren't those the ones we ourselves have to deal with?
So there's my really long, nonsensical take on why we should strive to be vulnerable in our writing. Not only is it good for us, but it can help someone else. Someone who's been there.
Be vulnerable, dears. In writing stories and in living your own story. <3
What's your take on vulnerability? Is the insane all-over-the-place style of this post making you laugh as hard as it's making me laugh?