During 2013, dozens of talented writers are joining me to cheer you on in your storytelling. These guest-writers will share a few helpful words with you right here every Tuesday night, to encourage you as you #TellHisStory. (Come back after midnight Wednesday to link up your God Story by clicking here. You are free to share ANY story that God lays on your heart.)
And now, I’m delighted to introduce you to my good friend and a very talented author, Michelle DeRusha.
Tell the Truth as You Understand It
I keep a quote by writer Anne Lamott front and center on my desk that says this:
“Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Don’t worry about appearing sentimental. Worry about being unavailable; worry about being absent. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it.”
I’ve probably re-read that quote 400 times. I read it when I’m afraid, when I want to write the easy way out of a story.
Every time I’m inclined to sugarcoat a story, or avoid one altogether, I know it’s because I am afraid. Because I want people to like me rather than really know me. Because I want them to see a more perfect version of the real me. Because I am ashamed of my flaws and my ugly.
When I re-read Anne Lamott’s quote, I’m reminded for the umpteenth time that we all need to read real stories because they are universal, and because they tell us something about ourselves that we might not know, or that we might be avoiding, or that we might need to celebrate and love, rather than hide.
And so I begin again, to tell the truth as I understand it.
Michelle’s first two books – 50 Women Every Christian Should Know (Baker Books) andSpiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Doubt and Faith (WaterBrook Multnomah) – will be published in 2014. You can read Michelle’s blog here, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
YOUR TURN: Have you experienced a time when you “risked being unliked” for the sake of telling a story that needed to be told? How hard is it to be vulnerable in your stories? And can people go too far?