Ever get to the place in your writing where you just want to play it safe? I think every writer gets there. Doesn’t every writer have a manuscript that’s too blah because you were too scared to go where you should have gone? Or a manuscript that’s gathering dust because you’re too scared for anyone to read it?
But staying in the safe zone stifles your writing. Risk brings your work to life. Here are some leaps of faith to take your writing to the next level.
Tap into your own fears
When you’re writing, reach into the part of you that has suffered the most hurt. Take the anxieties you have and put your character through those realities. This will make your writing so much deeper.
Try something crazy
Did some insane plot development pop into your head and you said “nah”? Give it a go. See what happens. You can always go back and rewrite it again. But the experience will never be a loss, because you’ll learn something from it.
Let someone read it
If you’re afraid to let someone read your work, this is the leap of faith you need to take. You might have to take a few deep breaths as you let go of your brainchild, but put it into the hands of a trusted friend for starters, then work your way up to a supportive writing group or critique partner.
Let it go
There might be something in your writing that you need to get rid of, but you’re hanging onto it. Ask yourself why? Letting go of needless characters, plot lines, stylistic elements, etc. can free you up to explore new possibilities. Like Faulkner said: Kill your darlings.
Put it out there
When the time comes, it can be very hard to walk your little manuscript up to the bus stop, kiss it goodbye, and send it off into the cruel world of rejections. But if your story is ever to become a book, this is exactly what you have to do. It may mean a lot of rejections. It may mean some rewrites. It may mean that your story doesn’t make it at all. But that book isn’t doing anyone any good cluttering up your hard drive.
Any art worth sharing involves some risk. So get brave and take that leap.