I guess I’m a little dense, because it was only recently that I really understood the truth in this statement. I’m not one of those writers who gets writer’s block on a regular basis. And, yes, some scenes or descriptions are easier to pull together than others but I’ve very seldom written anything that left me entirely raw. As difficult as it was, it is something I think I need to do more often.
Just a few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about religious bullying that my son and I experienced. The post took me two months to write and I can even tell you how many versions I deleted. Most were too bitchy, more vitriol than anything useful. I could have given up, I wanted to give up, but the situation was just too outrageous and I still hate the thought that people I was writing about thought their actions were not only okay but, most likely, commendable.
At last, I managed to get something together that was worth sharing. Was it worth it? I wasn’t sure.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that it was 100% worth it. A friend reposted the piece on her Facebook wall and it all took off. In the next two days, that post alone brought as much traffic as the blog usually sees in two weeks. Why? Because I had bled onto the page.
If I had written about something easy, it wouldn’t have had the same effect. My writing touched readers who had been through similar situations and because, not surprisingly, few people managed to write about it.
What did I learn? That some things are blazingly difficult to write about but that in many ways these are the things that mean the most to the right readers. As a result, I’ve shifted around my to-do list to prioritize a picture book that I roughed out but never finished. I’ve let it sit because it too has been an extraordinarily difficult. Why? Because it involves religion and while I firmly believe this book needs to be written, I know that some people will react very badly to it. That said, there are people out there who will respond just as positively because this is going to be a tough book to do well. Accomplishing a solid draft will be like bleeding onto the page.