I Dare You!
I’d like to challenge you to try something daring. Try writing about something that doesn’t put you in a good light. Maybe it would be a confession of some sin or failure. Maybe you could relate a story of something you did when you were young and foolish — or maybe when you were not so young, but still foolish.
Or perhaps you could write about something you are afraid your family and friends would laugh at. I’ve written some fiction that was a source of unintended glee for my wife and kids.
You could even write about something that you secretly suspect you are unqualified to discuss. Write something that — in a more sane and proper moment — you would not dare to write.
If you have the courage to do it, you may discover that by forging through an unworn path, you can add a fresh perspective and a new depth to your writing. Sylvia Plath said, “Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.” Plath, by the way, ended up committing suicide, sadly enough. Perhaps she would have done so sooner if she didn’t have the outlet of writing to release her soul pain. Perhaps if she had written more, she would have exorcised her personal demons.
I shouldn’t pretend to be able to psychoanalyze Plath, but her story does remind me of a comment by another writer, William Styron: “The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s neurosis, and we’d have a mighty dull literature if all the writers that came along were a bunch of happy chuckleheads.”