I’m really delighted to share an inspiring guest post from Catherine Simpson. Catherine is the author of Truestory which I read a while back now and thought was excellent. You can read my review here. She is currently working on a family memoir. Her guest post is all about being a bit braver with writing, but being that bit braver could equally apply to many areas of life. Catherine says that we all need to be brave at times and I would definitely agree. Since beginning my blog a couple of years ago I’ve done things I never would have thought I was brave enough to do, such as organising get-togethers for authors and bloggers, taking part in a book event, becoming involved in my local book festival and next weekend I am going to be blogging from Coastword, a literary festival in Dunbar which Catherine mentions in her post. So go on, be brave – you never know where it may lead you!
Brave, Braver, Bravest.
As writers, fear is our enemy: We fear rejection, we fear failure, we fear finding out we are not as good as we hoped we were, we fear speaking up, we fear making fools of ourselves. The only answer is to be brave – so I urge you to Do a Brave Thing. Any Brave Thing.
Your ‘Brave Thing’ might be writing something in a different genre; if you are a short story writer try writing a poem, if you are a poet tackle some memoir. Give it a go. You have nothing to lose and potentially lots to gain.
Try a new poetic form – a villanelle or a concrete poem or an acrostic. Commit to writing a haiku every day about what you can see from your window.
Challenge yourself as a reader by reading in a new genre; read a graphic novel, a space opera, an epic poem. Visit the library and browse the shelves you’ve avoided. Read something translated from Arabic or Chinese. Read Ulysses.
Read that classic novel you’ve always meant to.
Join a book group and speak up.
If you’ve never sent your work out to a magazine or a competition give it a go. Then create a spreadsheet for all the other submissions you will make.
Attend a writing workshop. Go and see some spoken word then sign up for a slot at an open mic. Attend an author event and ask a question. Spend an entire weekend at a literary festival (I might be biased but Coastword Festival in Dunbar is wonderful!).
Spend a whole day alone in the library reading, researching, writing. Visit your local museum or archive and research your town and use this for inspiration. Visit an art gallery on your own and be inspired to write by the paintings.
Offer to write a guest blog on overcoming your writing fears. Write a letter to the paper. Write a love letter.
Post your first tweet.
Write a review of a book you’ve loved and send it to the author.
Interview elderly relatives and write up some of their stories. Write a letter to your younger self. Write a letter to your older self. Write a list of all the brave things you plan to try and mail it to yourself in six months. Write your will. Write your own eulogy.
Learn a new word and use it.
Go people watching, listen to conversations on the bus and use your observations as inspiration.
If you’ve never done so before (or even if you have) ask for feedback on your work from trusted friends.
Seize the chance to do a brave writing thing. Fear leaves you trapped but bravery sets you free. I’m sure you will not regret it – far from it – and who knows where this one brave thing may lead?
Thanks for that Catherine – food for thought for many I’m sure. If you are inspired to do a brave thing after reading Catherine’s post, be brave enough to let us know!