Fearless writing isn’t just an inspirational how-to for writers and hopeful budding authors. It is a book chock full of philosophical, thought-provoking gems for life as well. Some with even life-changing potential. The subtitle: how to create boldly and write with confidence. Though you can sub out the word “write” with “live” and the title will still be almost equally applicable.
Several of the gems that stood out to me from within this worthwhile read:
–You will find your confidence, and begin to write fearlessly, the moment you stop caring what everyone else thinks. (This line of thinking can of course, also apply to not just writing, but life as well).
–If how you felt were in no way connected to your thoughts or the choices you make, then you would likely need to learn to “suck it up” regarding your feelings. If, on the other hand, your feelings are frequently a direct result of how you think and the choices you make (which is the case), then you never need to suck anything up. You need only pay attention to what you are feeling to be guided toward and clued into what actions you might take, or thoughts you can shift, to feel better and improve both your situation and mental state.
—Self-doubt- wondering what other people might be thinking, is the vampire of writing (and, of living a joyous and contented life). When you invite in self-doubt, it drains you. Leaving you ever wondering and ruminating on thoughts like: what will they think? Do they approve? What if I don’t get anywhere and am not recognized? Your life will be consumed by such, and your ability to live in accordance with what makes your soul alight will become muddled and compromised. Ever at the whim of what others think. A powerless, stressful, and ultimately soul-squashing way to live.
–If you want to write fearlessly, you must write what you love. You must write the story by which you are most emotionally/mentally occupied, intrigued, and thrilled. You will never write better, nor with more authority or originality than when writing what you most want to write. This keeps your mind and heart returning to it, on its own. For the simple reason that you truly love it. When we genuinely love something, we don’t have to force ourselves toward it. We are naturally drawn. The same thinking can be applied to our choice in friendships, career, personal projects, and loves. Choose to surround yourself with and spend time on which you truly love and that which illuminates your spirit.
–We are never happier than when we pay attention to what most interests us, whether it be a story, a song, a pet, a life passion, or a person. We are never more fulfilled than when we can rest our attention on something without effort, simply by obeying that magnetic pull we have named “love.” It’s so much easier, more satisfying, and joyous, than the act of forcing oneself be interested. To care about something which you don’t particularly want to, eat something you don’t desire eating or love something you don’t wish to love. This is both deflating as well as, time and energy squandered.
–Two separate reviews of the same book, a debut literary novel from a NY publisher. One remarked on the authors appealing ability and talent to “turn a phrase” and thus, write well. The other review remarked on her bumbling, stilted prose. Then, get this, both reviews quoted the same line from her book as an example! One remarking of its quality, the other on its apparent lack thereof.
This tells you everything you need to know about both “good” writing, as well as just about everything we critique in our culture and lives at large. All of it is almost entirely opinion and personal perspective.
There is no “good” writing (proper grammar aside). A story which lights up, inspires, grips, or moves one person will do nothing for another. Take any book, you will find people who love it and people who think its crap. What thrills one person might repel another. You get the idea.
Thus, listening to critiques and praise, leaning too heavily on or taking such too seriously is akin to attempting to keep one’s eyes on hundreds of birds arching into the sky simultaneously, all flying in varying directions.
No matter what you write (or create, or do in your life), there will always be someone who likes it, and always someone who dislikes it, because everyone is as different and unique as are you.
(For an inspiring and confidence boosting article on why it’s important to be ok with the idea of being disliked, even finding peace and confidence in such, here you go).
–A final note on critiques and others opinions. Remember, you are not your stories. When people love or hate your story, they are not loving or hating you. In fact, they aren’t even loving or loathing what you wrote, because what you wrote and how everyone interprets it is slightly different even still. Readers fill in all kinds of details you hadn’t imagined when you were writing it. They felt their own love for certain characters, their own hatred, anger, joy, the list going on. Their emotional responses will always be unique to them because each of us is totally unique from one another. Thus, their response to your story will not match your response to it.
–All people have an unerring guidance system. It’s how we know what we should do, whom we should marry, where we should live, who are the right friends for us, etc. My answers to these questions will not match your answers. Not everyone listens to this inner guidance though and in fact, the most compelling and potentially meaningful stories of our lives arise when we do not listen to our personal guidance system, and then ultimately end up suffering.
–Look at all the people whom you pass by or encounter today. Every life you see wandering past has never happened before, and will never happen again. Everyone is as original as you. And yet, we love to compare. Constantly labeling people as either “ordinary” or “unique.” Yet, this is wildly flawed as every one of us are already completely unique, without even having to try. Sure, we may have similarities, but all of us are a constellation and kaleidoscope of differences, varying nuances, traits, with an original background and childhood, and an incredibly complex personality temperament.
Thus, the comparison game is a moot point and misguided pursuit. Therefore, when you go to tell a story, while a similar story may have been told before, no one has told it exactly as you will, with the same details and spins on it that you put. If we do that, bring our voice and soul to every creation we make or story we tell, it will always be unique and different, without you even trying to make it so.
To conclude: I found this book to be an uplifting, optimism laden, thought-provoking, and unique read. I was moved, intrigued, and even certain thoughts of mine were altered by much of what I read in this book. Both, with regards to my mindset, adapted when approaching writing, as well as the ways in which I might inwardly critique and consider other books (as well as varying pieces of art or creations by others).
All of this including the gaining of several incredibly useful insights on life as well, which I will most certainly carry with me in moving ever forward on my own journey.
I highly recommend this book if either, you like to write, wish to be a writer, or are even an avid reader who loves the written word.
*Note: several of the sentences in the review and in describing this read were lifted directly from the book, by my means of describing what insights most affected me from within the book.