Recently, I judiciously used the f-word in a blog post.
I was feeling frustrated with myself for not writing my truth. I was suffering. But, more importantly, my writing was suffering. It had become anaemic, half-hearted. It wasn't packing the punch it could.
In an article about writing poetry, Wendy Cope says:
"I find that the most important and helpful question to ask myself when I'm working on a poem is "Am I telling the truth?" T. S. Eliot said that the greatest difficulty for a poet is to distinguish between "what one really feels and what one would like to feel"."
This last part especially interests me. We are creatures burdened with ego. We spend a lot of our time wondering, 'What's she thinking about this outfit I'm wearing?' or 'What word can I use here to make me sound really clever?'.
This ego-building, understandable though it is, doesn't do our writing any favours. People don't want to read stories that are trying to be clever. People want to read stories that cut us to the quick with their honesty.
If you're interested in truth-telling, you might like Brad Blanton's book, Radical Honesty. A warning - he uses the f-word much more liberally than me! But as writers, we have a lot to learn from those who are brave enough to speak their truth. Do share your own favourite truth-tellers in the comments section.
When people speak their truth, it enables us to speak our own. As writers, it is our duty.
If you'd like to rediscover your own truth, join me on my next e-course, Writing Ourselves Alive. This will run in partnership with She Writes from November the 7th.
Dedicate a month to investigating curiosity, honesty, compassion and passion with your fellow participants in a private group here, and with essays, exercises and daily emails from me. As a side-benefit, I guarantee that you will produce some creative writing you are proud of.
Find out more and register here - it'd be lovely to have you along.