Brave Writing

The year 2012 was a good writing year for me. I wrote two novels, a few dozen short stories, ventured into the world of interactive fiction and started this blog. I’ve tried to share the things I’ve learned along the way, and so, I think it’s only fair that I share the most important lesson I’ve learned in writing (and life) last year: Be brave.

Sometimes, good writing means sharing the things that you keep private. It means ignoring the small—or not so small—voice that tells you you’ll be judged, that real fiction is about entirely inventing something, that secrets should stay secret.

Revealing these things can make for raw, real narrative. Not to mention the excitement of knowing—even if no one else does—that you are sharing something real and important with readers.

Taking the plunge is scary, so here are my tips for being brave.


1. Feel the fear.

Telling secrets is scary. Telling them to the whole world is scarier. Embrace the feeling of being nervous, of not knowing what the reaction will be. Then write the damn thing anyway.

2. Embellish.

Using your own experiences can often make the writing and editing of a piece difficult. Putting yourself in the story negates the distance needed to edit well. Changing certain aspects can often make this easier, as well as make the character experiencing them entirely different to you.

3. Enjoy the experience.

Okay, so your family may ask that you not broadcast their latest argument in your book, your ex may call to give you hell for the story you wrote when you broke up, but the world will not implode because of one story. Look inside, see if there’s a story you really need to tell, and tell it. Bravely.


Helen Dring is a fiction writer from Liverpool, England. She is studying for an MA in Creative Writing and is currently writing her first novel. She likes fairy tales, ghost stories and modern history.

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