Too Naked?

7 years ago

“Writers fail because they come to the page fully clothed. They adorn themselves with fanciful plots and layer themselves with complicated character development. They use flowery prose and words you have to look up in the dictionary. They do this not to impress their readers, but to keep their readers at arm’s length. They’re afraid. Afraid to bare their souls and inject themselves into their work. For that they are cowards.

“Don’t simply tell me that faith saves you, tell me how it almost failed you, too. Don’t tell me about love, speak of your passion. Don’t tell me you’re hurt, let me see your heart breaking. I don’t want to see your talent on the page, I want to see your blood. Dare to be naked before your readers. Because that is writing, and everything else is worthless crap.”

Quoted with permission from  "Writing Naked" by Billy Coffey.

Before you continue reading, go read his entire post. I will wait.


I'm waiting. Go on. Read it.


I read this post when Billy originally published it, back in January. What his writing instructor, and he, said rang true to me. So for the last eight months now, I've been trying to push through that fear. Write naked. Bleed on my notebooks and computer screen.

It is difficult. It is scary. It feels very vulnerable.

But it's also true that writing this way connects with people.  I've received dozens of messages from women battling alongside me to overcome depression, thanking me for being willing to write about it.

I've poured out my agony, anger, and grief in posts about the life and death of my daughter, Elli, and through that have been able to put a virtual arm around other grieving parents. Each of our losses is unique, but we share an I-will-never-be-the-same pain.

The scariest post of all was the one in which I bared it all and wrote about myself - a really personal post about defying stereotypes and seeking questions. But that post won ThetaMom's blogiversary and was selected as BlogHer's voice of week.

The most controversial series I've written is a journal through spiritual demolition and reconstruction I've undertaken over the past few years. While many have written with relief that someone was willing to say that she isn't completely sure about her faith, others have written with tremendous concern and discomfort. They fear that my raw posts about doubt could feed someone else's doubt.

One of my primary goals as a writer is to be genuine, honest, authentic. Naked. I will not compromise my integrity as a person or as a writer.

But some people seem to think that there's an indecency or an impropriety to writing naked. That it's dangerous, really truly dangerous to open yourself up like that. They want me to put some clothes on my writing.

Is there such a thing as writing too naked? What do you think?

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