How to Write Bravely | Teen Ink

How to Write Bravely

April 17, 2015
By ClaireM. ELITE, Albany, New York
ClaireM. ELITE, Albany, New York
109 articles 14 photos 33 comments

i. Allow yourself to be clichéd. Forgive yourself the comparison to phenomena like stars, tsunamis, volcanoes, and the end of the world.  There is no shame in depicting the galaxies you see in your irises or the seas crashing in your lungs. Don’t for a minute diminish your words because you’re afraid of seeming larger, lovelier, or grander than you really are. Keep writing huge. Keep writing splendorous.

ii. Destroy the anxiety gap between you and your work. Sit down and write whatever’s filling you in that moment. When stupidity comes, embrace it. When unoriginality comes, offer it your deepest welcome. When panic comes, give it a wink and keep dragging your pen across the page. There is no wrong, no right. There is only Something. Do not label the Something in such stark, dull terms as good or bad. If you must label it, label it burning, label it victorious, scarlet, howling, fresh, moving, disastrous, gleaming, but never reduce it to success or non-success. Who are you to determine these things? How can you take what streams out of you and cram it into a superficially constructed box? Would you degrade any other kind of natural release? Would you relegate blood flow or shouting or tears to a simple one-word title? This is your time to glow in full vulnerability, to fall head over heels for every blundering, beautiful thought within you, so build a bridge between you and the paper that will be strong enough to bear your weight. Then cross it.

iii. Know who you are writing for. It should be yourself, not the one who holds your heart or the fire-faced figure in the park at dusk or people who make your soul twist. Write for brave, bruised you; wondering, powerful you. Always you.

iv. Rise above the need to match your creation to a preordained image in your mind. The two will never be the same and this is fine. Accept whatever you produce with tender detachment, then move forward. Remember that every literary icon has felt the same pounding dissatisfaction, and walked about tugging at their hair, frustrated and abashed. Remember they are no closer to divinity than you. Ultimately, we are all just shells through which a greater ocean sings, so let yours wail its melody as it likes.

v. Write without the tight egoic fist; write without a blueprint; write without fear. Write like it is your first day on earth and you are stunned with awe. Write like the caterpillar bursting from its cocoon, transformed, breathless. Write like that.

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This article has 4 comments.

ClaireM. ELITE said...
on May. 5 2015 at 12:44 pm
ClaireM. ELITE, Albany, New York
109 articles 14 photos 33 comments
Beautiful comment! You're so right, writing is all about being humbled and emboldened, over and over and over. How insightful and appreciated. :)

Beila BRONZE said...
on May. 4 2015 at 11:20 pm
Beila BRONZE, Palo Alto, California
3 articles 0 photos 516 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." -Mark Twain

Wow! Yes, I agree wholeheartedly with Ray--yo's comment. You have a great gift for writing about writing! :) My favorite line was the "shells through which a greater ocean sings." I think it's a metaphor that so powerfully captures the essence of what it means to be a writer, to be both empowered and empowering, constantly humbled by the world and yet as endlessly emboldened by it, too. Beautiful piece!

ClaireM. ELITE said...
on May. 4 2015 at 8:01 am
ClaireM. ELITE, Albany, New York
109 articles 14 photos 33 comments
Thank you so much my love. :-)

on May. 4 2015 at 7:55 am
Ray--yo PLATINUM, Kathmandu, Other
43 articles 2 photos 581 comments

Favorite Quote:
God Makes No Mistakes. (Gaga?)
"I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." -Liesel Meminger via Markus Zusac, "The Book Thief"

Breathtaking. I needed point four, and Loved the line 'Write like it is your first day on earth and you are stunned with awe.'- I hope you keep doing this. Best Wishes, CM :)