You do not have to wait for the muse to inspire authentic, fearless writing in your book. Coax it into being with three quick steps:
1. Release judgment.
In writing the draft of your book, consider all ideas acceptable. To be a fearless writer, do not censor your writing or ponder whether or not what you have to write is “important enough” or “deep enough.” If your “self-editor” has its say too soon, you limit your book’s potential.
Honor your fearless writing inclinations and process by recording whatever words want to emerge, no matter how crazy or “unlike” you they seem. Stay open to the surprises and whispers of your authentic, creative writing voice.
Your covenant with your creative self to write a book is not to please others or some limited perception of yourself. It is to be authentic, to show up, listen and record the stream of words flowing through you.
Maintain an open attitude about your own life and what you are willing to share if you are writing a memoir. For fiction, open your scope of what is possible in the lives of the characters you are writing about and set your imagination free. For all genres, open your heart to the stirrings within to guide and direct the writing of your book.
2. Let loose.
Write your book or essay’s first draft non-stop, however the words want to emerge. Unleash it, so it can run loose and free. That’s what makes your writing appear fearless and authentic.
Allow your writing to be bad, brilliant, boring, juicy, trite, cutting edge. Let the first draft of your book be whatever, however, whenever it needs to be.
One author I know keeps a post-it note of writing guidance taped to her computer monitor. It says, “Let it suck.”
In this seeming mess of an approach to book writing, magic happens. Moments of fearless writing grace appear in a phrase here or sentence there. Sometimes in whole paragraphs and pages.
Your writing will flourish the more you can allow the first flush of authentic writing without editorial input. If you permit your critic or “self editor” to have its say too soon, you limit your potential. Assure the self editor it will have its opportunity to hone and chop in later drafts of your book or story.
3. Do not discount a badly written first draft.
I remember an early writing class I attended. One participant’s first draft of a life story she wanted to share was barely comprehensible. I held out no hope for her as a writer.
I was so wrong.
With the writing teacher’s encouragement to expand add sensory and emotional detail, this fledgling writer’s rewrite reverberated with poetic power and authenticity.
This experience expanded my perspective, humbled me. It taught me never to discount someone’s writing potential-including my own – based on a rough draft, that miracles can and do occur in revision.
It also bolstered my own motivation to persist and be fearless in my writing whenever I wrote a horrid first draft of a chapter for my memoir. I learned to trust that in rewriting, I, too, could unearth the authenticity and heart of my writing and tell the story that was mine to tell.