Start Your Week Off Write: Reflections On Writing Naked

How much of YOU do you reveal in your writing?

Programming Note: Starting this week kristin nador writes anywhere will post on Mondays and Fridays to give me more margin to focus on health issues and my WIP that I’ve been neglecting. Monday posts will focus on writing, creativity and blogging, while Fridays will continue to feature Write Anywhere venues where we check out places to help us step out of the creativity box. Hope you’ll join us. Now back to regular programming.

My apologies for being out of pocket for the last week. Professional bloggers say you should never point out your absence, but…

#1 I’m a writer who blogs, not a professional blogger and #2 I would apologize to my in-person friends so why wouldn’t I apologize to my blog reader friends? :)

Health and personal issues decided to butt ahead in the line that is my life. It was rather rude of them but there is nothing I can do about it. We all have problems: emotional, physical, financial, relational, creative. The only people without problems are those with a gravestone on top of them, so having problems is good. It means you are alive.

The real issue is how you deal with problems. Juggling, balancing, prioritizing, whichever term you like to use to describe how you make it through a day. If you’re a writer, include balancing your writing in that juggling act of life. I could share the details of my problems, but then does my blog morph into personal therapy? That might be good for me, but what about a writer’s online brand? Once a post is out there in cyberland, it’s there in perpetuity. Will confessional or revelatory blog posts affect how writers are perceived by readers, agents and publishers?

On the other hand, will giving a true portrayal of what happens in a writer’s life help other writers struggling with similar circumstances? I think most of us are more alike than we are different, but we’re afraid to talk about it.  We’re afraid to write naked.

Not as in Victor Hugo, who literally wrote without clothes. Writing naked is being open, being real, going to those places we don’t like to show even ourselves. Some writers write stark naked. Cutting open a vein and bleeding on the page. Anne Lamott is one of many that come to mind. That’s probably why she is so beloved to many writers. Other writers write just as naked but it’s all poured into a multi-layered character.

Creatives seem to be sensitive creatures for whom every event is just that: an event. So the events that make up our lives affect how we come to the page. I think it’s important to be positive. But some days are not positive days. It’s okay to be sad, mad or even self-indulgent. Sometimes reality descends. So is it okay to admit that in print?

Even while we cheer on super-achiever creatives who manage to keep all the plates spinning with a smile and a tweet, we secretly hang our heads in shame because we aren’t really part of that perceived club. We fall into depressive funks. We can’t manage to get the laundry folded for three days. We can’t figure out where we went wrong in that character arc yet. We can’t manage to stick to our blog post schedule. We don’t write 4000 words on our WIP every day. We forget to thaw the chicken for dinner. We sit too long trying to make the words flow and our butts get bigger than our egos. We can’t whip up gourmet dinners after coming home from our very necessary day jobs. We stare at the computer screen and obsess that we write crap.

Will talking about these things rather than all the shiny goals we meet dull the bright carrots of blog statistics, Twitter followers and networking dangling before our social media platforms? I’ve stirred up more questions than answers in this post.

I don’t think I’m very good at writing ‘naked’ but I’m going to keep working on it. This writing naked takes trust, and that’s not always something I offer easily. The best choice is not always the safest choice. Choose to do it afraid.

Check out these thought- provoking posts by ‘naked’ writers:

Question: Do you think it helps or hurts your author brand by revealing personal issues and struggles? Is writing ‘naked’ art or cheap therapy?

 

11 thoughts on “Start Your Week Off Write: Reflections On Writing Naked

  1. sllynn

    This writing naked takes trust, and that’s not always something I offer easily

    It takes trust in yourself. Trust that you won’t allow those same mistakes from the past to hurt you again, and that you take enough care with yourself to know that no matter how deep you cut open that vein, you’ll be able to close it again. Sometimes trusting ourselves is the hardest thing to do because it requires that we be brutally honest with not only ourselves but everyone else, and as writers we all know how much humans love our masks and delusions.

    I think the key question in all of this is how do you take those down days and channel them into your writing. Perhaps your characters are asking themselves these same questions or are going through similar situations – and their response may give clues as to how to approach one’s own problems.

    I know that I keep a couple of stories full of snark, cruel sarcasm and dark humor going so I can come home after a crap day and just let out all of those things I’ve wanted to say all day out, but couldn’t if I wanted to keep my job. I don’t think the story will ever go anywhere, but it sure does feel good to work on it.

    Hope you get to feeling better soon!

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      Very well said, Sandy. Trusting yourself is sometimes the hardest because who knows your own behavior patterns better than you? You recognize all the masks you pull out of the drawer better than anyone. Leaving the drawer closed and coming to the page bare-faced is a scary proposition but the place where we can create without hinderance.

      I love your idea of an ongoing snark story. I’d hate to be in the way of those characters. ;)

      Reply
      1. Sandy L

        Humans also have all sorts of protective defenses in place, and I find that writers in particular get stymied by resistance, writer’s block, the shiny new story syndrome, etc when they get too close to the things that hurt them most. Goodness knows I do it enough, LOL! It takes conscious awareness of those defenses and the willingness to power through them.

        One of these days maybe I’ll find a plot for those snarky characters and put them to good use. ;)

  2. Missy Baker

    Kristin, I always love your blog, it provokes thought or offers insight in a way this reader can relate. Todays blog, however, above all others, I believe is my favorite. We all have those moments of writing insecurity. I found through writing my subconscious manifests things I did not realize I refused to consciously deal with. That was enlightening. So in a way, yes, I almost always write naked, bare to the world and to myself. Definitely therapy in the form of complex, layered characters. Loved the post.

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      Thanks for your encouragement, Missy! :) I have had instances in my writing where something appeared that I didn’t really plan and I wondered, ‘Where did that come from?’ and when I followed the trail I discovered it was a small bit of a memory or mindset that had been hiding in the dusty recesses of my mind where I would prefer that it stay. When those instances happen, it definitely feels like therapy! :)

      Reply
  3. Diana Douglas

    How about partially naked? I don’t have any problem admitting to days of “I can’t do this any more ’cause my writing sucks and nobody’s gonna read it anyway.” There are also things that I’m definitely not going to write about, because they are way too personal. Sometimes knowing exactly where to draw the line is tough.

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      Sometimes I get an urge to rant about something or feel like what’s happening that day would get better if I just talked about it. I start typing then I remember that it’s not just a close friend that will read about the personal situation but anyone and everyone. I may feel differently about it tomorrow, but my blog post will be there forever. Then I hit the delete key. :) It’s hard to find the balance to being personable without being too personal.

      Reply
  4. AChrisNYC

    Love the post title, definitely eye-catching! I started into it thinking, “Write naked? But I would never… Well, maybe on a hot summer day. My apartment can get pretty steamy in July.”

    It’s an interesting question. On one hand, I want that community with readers and folks I meet online. I want them to know that I’m not pretending to be perfect and content all the time, I’d hope that would be a relatable thing, not only to other writers but to other people. If everything were fine and dandy for all of us, what in the world would we have to talk about? What would we have to WRITE about?

    At the same time, as I’ve started getting into blogging over the past month or so, a lot of the tips I’ve seen have said to not make posts or tweets too negative. Because people don’t want to read about other people feeling sorry for themselves or ranting about every little thing that happens in their lives.

    It’s a fine line, I think. One you’ve articulated quite well here.

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      Thanks for the comment, AChrisNYC. A lot of blog ‘experts’ tell bloggers to avoid being negative in their posts, but I think there is a certain kind of negative post that is good to explore. The ‘this-crap-happened-to-me-and-I-want-to-help-you-overcome-it’ type and the ‘this-crap-happened-to-me-and-how-can-we-change-it-what-do-you-think’ type. But I guess they are actually positive because there are solutions to problems discussed. Straight up rants, whining and personal attacks are the types to be avoided. But it can be hard not to fall into a rant at times. Poor Keeper Hubby gets a lot of mine. ;)

      Reply
  5. ChipperMuse (Michele)

    Hope your health issues improve soon. It’s important to take care of ourselves, and not always be the “perfect” bloggers we expect ourselves to be. (That’s only an illusion in our minds, isn’t it?) As for what to share on the blog, I believe in balance…share what’s comfortable and general, and feel free to keep the specifics private. I’m fairly naked on my blog because that’s part of my brand: being who I am in all my unique dimensions. But I don’t tell all. Like you, I’m adjusting my blog schedule to fit my life better. I posted in general about the things that are drawing away my time, partly to keep me accountable for making necessary changes, and partly because my brand is to help other writers. For me, that meant sharing my time-stealers because I think it can help others to recognize their time-stealers. It fits my goal to be a resource to others. I guess I weigh things that way: does it fit my goals to talk about this on my blog? And then I go from there.

    Reply
    1. kristin nador Post author

      “…does it fit my goals to talk about this on my blog?”

      That’s a great measurement to use to decide whether you should share something on your blog.

      Thanks for the well wishes. I love blogging but since balance is the key in all things I need to get more balance in the health area right now. After I see some improvement I hope to bring my blog schedule back up to three days per week. Two posts a week will motivate me to make them better. Quality above quantity. ;)

      Reply

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