Writer’s Chamber of Secrets

I entered the writing chamber of secrets without a guidebook.

I wrote from my heart.
I wrote what I knew about.
I wrote what I felt.
I wrote without a strategy.
I wrote without index cards.
I wrote without plotting.
I wrote dialogue, as I would speak and how a lover would speak to me.
I wrote the story because it wanted out of my head.
I wrote without taking notes.
I wrote what I saw in my head.
I wrote in the voice of the character.
I wrote because I was stuck at Gate 47 in the Denver airport during a snowstorm.
I wrote because my heart had an affliction.
I wrote for the sake of writing.
I wrote in first person without thinking about it or any knowledge of the stigmas tied to this POV.
I wrote honestly.
I wrote beginnings after endings.
I wrote endings with new beginnings.
I wrote about love at every turn.
I wrote without fear of consequence.
I wrote without doubt, evaluation, or regret.
I wrote with all my heart.
I wrote with reckless abandonment.
I wrote freely.
I wrote without expectation (I did).
I wrote knowing my heart would break (it did).
I wrote intuitively.
I wrote without a key, a map, or without a clue about how to.

I took a writing class or three.
I bought a how-to book.
I read books on craft.
I joined a writing group.
I went to a conference.
I work-shopped my stories.
I stopped writing from the inside of my heart.
I questioned everything I wrote.
I stuttered on the page.
I listened to what I heard and read.
I discounted what I knew in my heart.
I closed the door to what came naturally, and intuitively.

I howled at the moon.
I walked in circles.
I drank wine late at night.
I wished upon a star.
I bought journals.
I wrote love letters.
I had a new affliction in my heart.
I ate chocolate kisses.
I took a walk.
I signed up for NaNo.
I wrote 1,666 words everyday.
I didn’t’ stop writing until I finished.

In those hazy winter and spring months following my first NaNo, I found myself as a writer. I learned what I had always known — but had lost sight of — which was to trust in my sixth sense. I accepted my voice, her quirks, the finished and tarnished edges, her playfulness, her audacity, her raw emotion, her brokenness, her sense of value, but mostly to trust where she leads me.

After thousands and thousands of hours and words, I’ve learned, to live the dream, to love and be loved, to write and to continue writing, you have to surrender all of yourself. Writing is like loving. It’s not a Wednesday afternoon tryst. It’s everything from the first woo on through to the exhale of release. I’ve realized, and only recently, that each day there are new challenges. I do not, and will not ever know everything there is to know at any point in time. I will continue to grow and evolve with each breath, each line, and each story, as a writer.

It took me a while, but I finally came home. I’m back where I started.

Regardless of what brings you to a blank page, remember to write from your heart and with passion. Write with integrity. Write honestly. Write with reckless abandonment. Write without expectation. Write with conviction, and sincerity. Write originally. Write what you know and then some. Write with spice. Write with love. Write from your heart. Write with discipline. Write for one reader. Write without filters. Write to a lost lover. Write with all of your senses. Write as if you were dying. Write as if you are making love for the first time. Write as if you are staring down the barrel of a gun. Write without doubt. Write without an editor on your shoulder. Write as if there is a camera on your shoulder. Write without compromise. Write what you feel.

What’s the most difficult story, blog post, card, letter, post-it note, you ever had to write?  Why?

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I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

48 thoughts on “Writer’s Chamber of Secrets

    • Rimly, you do write strikingly honest poetry. I often feel as if I am the woman in those poems. Love is such an amazing state, it’s also, heart wrenchingly painful, but always worth the effort.

  1. The most difficult story I’ve ever written was my upcoming YA contemporary romance series. I had to relive being 17 again and having my heart broken. I cried. I felt all those emotions again. Love as a teen is amazing, but heartbreak is almost like dying. Everything is heightened. It was a very emotional experience for me.
    Kelly Hashway recently posted….Yes, I Write YA Contemporary RomanceMy Profile

    • Kelly – I never thought about writing an YA novel until reading this comment. You’re process got me thinking. I had such a strange teen life, full of confusing feelings, etc., and can’t help but think those years contributed to who I became. I don’t know if I ever will but there might be a story in me. I am excited for your books. Can’t wait to read.

    • Linda, I think true stories are the hardest. There is a common theme in the comments. Righting honestly, and telling real tales, while not hurting those in our lives isn’t easy. I am flattered and pleased to have connected with you, even if we never connect at in the right time zone, you always bring a smile to my heart.

    • Astra, you and Debra should get together. She too is writing a similar piece. I suppose that’s why I like fiction. I can weave true life into a story and then deny it later if someone asks. I’ve written complete fiction pieces (nothing of me in it) before and have been asked if what I wrote was based on real life. Go figure. I’ve had an agent tell me after reading the first fifty pages of my book she just couldn’t believe something I had written was plausible. The one thing she didn’t believe was a tale right out of my life. Again, go figure. Just write your stories down. The families of writers have to assume they are up for grabs in the tales we weave.

  2. On my healing journey I have found that as you explain is the only way I can write. I am simply someone sharing a journey not a “serious” writer I see no other way than straight from the heart with honesty and love. This is an excellant post and so very encouraging for someone like me.
    Daisy Inthewind recently posted….I Screwed Up!My Profile

    • Daisy/Jan – not sure :-) I don’t think it matters why a person writes, so long as he or she enjoys it, grows, and finds peace in the process. You have your lens, I have the blank page, both are a journey to somewhere.

  3. Brenda, the hardest thing I’ve had to write was a letter from me to my father and that was to be read at his funeral. He passed away two years ago and for personal reasons, I was unable to attend. Nevertheless, it was the hardest letter I’ve ever had to write. I cried my eyes out writing it and reading it afterward. But I wrote just like you mentioned–from the heart; meaning every word that I wrote. And isn’t that what writing’s about? I’m grateful for the catharsis the letter provided. I have it saved in my documents and would you believe that two years later, I haven’t looked at it again? I think I’m still not ready to face the hard truths I wrote that day. Someday.

    • Bella – I can’t even imagine. I could barely speak to my father when he was dying. I’d follow apart. I was not able to read or speak at his service, but my little girl, bless her, wrote a poem and managed to stand up and read it. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I admire your courage, Bella. One day you might be able to. It’s harder than we realize to face the past and the truths we bury or rewrite.

  4. When I started writing, I wrote with high self-expectations. It took me a while to finally write honestly and I never want to stray from this. As to your question, there was a long, tough email I had to write many years back because I was ‘breaking up’ with three of my girlfriends. They were nice people but I had always felt out of place and very inferior when I was with them. One night after dinner, I teared up at a bus stop alone and just felt horrid. I didn’t think I could sit through another dinner with them again. So I wrote them a long email (two of them were overseas) trying my hardest to explain why I couldn’t be friends any more. That was difficult.

    • Claudine – I swear, woman, you and I need to connect in person. I did that a few years ago, broke up with a few people in my life. We had been together, or a part of one another’s lives for a long while, but we didn’t fit. I didn’t fit. I felt so bad at the time, but after, I felt relief I didn’t have to apologize anymore for being me. I hope you felt the same way I did, after.. It’s hard at first, but later… it makes sense. I always think of your writing as honest. Hugs, C. You’re the best

  5. I so agree with all of this, Brenda, especially the stanza, if you will, about the after effects of reading too many books on writing, taking too many writing classes, writing conferences…..I stopped writing honestly and freely then too. This is so rich for any writer. Hardest thing I’ve ever written? A YA coming of age novel — it took me a couple years. I don’t think I am a novel writer. Shorter pieces fit well.
    Coming home? Back where I started? That’s where I’d like to be again as a writer. Thanks for the inspiration here.
    Barbara recently posted….An Autumn FriendMy Profile

    • Barbara – I wonder if all beginning writer’s take on too much information and then stall. A rite of passage, maybe? I am glad for the lesson. Now, I go get data when I need it. I haven’t written my most difficult story yet. My first novel was difficult, but I was learning the ropes, so I’m not sure if that is why it was difficult, or because so much of me was on those pages. The second WIP is much easier – or was – I am in the rewriting phase. I feel so empowered knowing I did this before.

  6. Lately, Brenda, I’ve been writing stories based on interviews I’ve been doing with some local heroes. We talk for an hour or so, and the hard part for me is making sure I capture their story in a way deserving of their achievements. I want them to be happy and proud of the outcome. For each of these interviews, I prepare by reading up what I can on the person, writing my questions, conducting the interview then writing it all out. It’s the writing that is the toughest part. But so far, the people I’ve written about haven’t lamented it. And a few have said they liked it. One even added it to his “scrapbook.” Which I thought was pretty cool.
    Monica recently posted….Seattle, Here I Come (and other random stuff)My Profile

    • Monica – I read that in your blog the other day. I think that is such an inspired idea, especially today when the world is struggling to rebalance. We need to be reminded of the everyday hero. I will visit soon, promise. I hope you have a good trip visiting with old friends.

  7. “Writing is like loving. It’s not a Wednesday afternoon tryst.”
    Great simile! It has to be a real passion, a love affair, a commitment.
    Right now I may be working on the most difficult story I’ve ever had to write because it’s true, but I’ve had to fictionalize it to protect someone I love. For years I kept it inside, not wanting to expose the crimes of that person. Finally I made the decision to just write it as it happened and change the names. Have you ever done that Brenda, hesitated to write the truth because you didn’t want anyone to read your sad story?
    Debra recently posted….A Lonely Place ApartMy Profile

    • Debra -you have found me out, my writing is my passion. To answer your question – not yet. I do write truths into my fiction all the time. I have an exotic family and weave some of their tales into my fiction. Since it’s fiction, I don’t have to be concerned with the facts. I think the trick for you is to remain the writer and not the loved one. As you said, just write it down. For me once I write ‘it down’ whatever ‘it’ is, I am no longer a part of it. It becomes someone else’s story, one that I am writing. I’d be glad to read if you and when you get to the point of sharing

  8. this is excellence! I agree with every single word up there. Every one.
    I love your heart and your love of writing and I totally share that.
    Whether I am ever good enough at this craft, it is forever in my heart and I will for all my days be a writer.
    Jo Heroux recently posted….BEGINNINGSMy Profile

    • Aw, Jo. Questioning ourselves is to be expected since we are putting ourselves out in the big world and subject to judgement. Every time I submit something I wrap a layer of steel around me, but it’s never enough to protect me from the rejection. It’s a subjective business. I’ve decided to keep writing, submitting, and taking chances. I might surprise myself one day.

  9. Brenda, I’ve always looked up to you as a writer and I’m taking every word you’ve written to heart. Recently, I’ve been consumed by writing and I’m loving it, even though it’s darned hard work.
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted….Real PresenceMy Profile

    • Corinne, I am truly flattered. Like you, I am on a similar journey. Everyday I am learning. It’s not an easy road to travel. Yes – damn hard. Hugs.

    • Amy – you nailed it. It doesn’t mean you have to tell deep dark secrets in what your write — I believe, anyway. I guess it comes down to writing with passion, active verbs, sharing.

  10. Honestly, Brenda, I have only had a few instances when writing the devotions when the words didn’t want to come. Needless to say, when I was posting daily, this could be a cause for some panic and self-doubt, but God always saw me through.
    And, all the advice you have given here? Excellent! We must write from our hearts, not from a handbook. :)
    Blessings to you!
    Martha Orlando recently posted….Give It Your All!My Profile

    • Martha – you are blessed. I think the only time I stuttered is when I had too much information floating around in my head about writing. I learned a lesson, which is to trust in my voice and go find knowledge as and when I need it. I’m sure there are rules a writer should not break but I’ve decided not to find out what they are and to continue writing and see where it takes me.

  11. What lovely and honest truths here. This post touched me on various levels and I am glad that you are you – Beautiful, honest, tender and brave.

    I wish you the best in all your writing assignments.

    Joy always,

    • Susan – Thank you kindly. I am always happy to share my thoughts on the writing process as much as I am reading others POV. It’s an intriguing passion.

  12. *** I accepted my voice, her quirks, the finished and tarnished edges, her playfulness, her audacity, her raw emotion, her brokenness, her sense of value, but mostly to trust where she leads me.***

    This must be shaded & underlined & displayed & savored.

    Brenda, once I let go. I mean, really let go…this is when I found my true voice.

    Loooove. xxx
    My Inner Chick recently posted….The Madonna ExperienceMy Profile

    • Kim – I think that is the same for many, although, some are afraid to let go entirely. I have a view about writing from the heart, something you, Linda, and I should discuss over wine someday if we are ever in the same city.

  13. Excellent! I’d be hard pressed to chose one of your posts as my favorite, but were I to make a short list, this one would definitely make the cut.

    I was blessed with a mother and grandmother who celebrated me. That might sound weird, but there is no gift better to give a child than to honor who they are and encourage their voice. Being embraced in such a way fosters the courage and ability to be true and real, in writing and in life.
    Beth recently posted….Yankee Doodle DandyMy Profile

    • Beth – smiles as always. You are blessed. Until recently I never appreciated how lucky I am. I read quite a few posts and comments by women whose husbands and families are not supportive of their writing. My family doesn’t read everything I write but they are very supportive. Of course, they think I am going to make millions and buy and island, but hey, they can dream.

    • Tara – most kind and generous of you to say this. I’m certain whatever you write is so much better than you give yourself credit for.. we writers are always or worse critics. If it helps any, I think of this blog as my virtual journal. I don’t take myself too seriously.

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