Writing My Stories – Avoiding Sensational

imageThere is the desire to sell your writing.

And there is the desire to tell good stories.

They are not the same pursuit.

I’ve spent my entire life trying to get my words in print. Sometimes, I succeed. Many times, I do not. The subjects and questions that fascinate me may not resonate for editors who are buying.

And so I am forced then to tell the stories I want to tell to anyone who will listen and earn my living through other methods.

"Are you listening" written on blackboardIn my mid-40s, I am tired of trying to please everyone. I don’t want to write the story that someone else is looking for. I want to tell it my way. That often means avoiding sensational details, racy titles, and tell-all spill-your-guts story lines.

I am candid, yes, and I don’t embarrass easily. I am mindful of other people’s feelings, other people’s secrets.

It doesn’t feel gratifying or even make sense to me to pour out my pathetic heart onto the page so that people will say, wow that’s so revealing, I’ll take a chance on her.

No, I want to write stories about what we believe, or don’t believe, what fears relegate us to the dark corners of the night, what desires have us sing our passionate heart into an open field so the sound carries indefinitely.

The inner conversations are the ones I want to record. How people keep going in the face of disappointment, adversity, tragedy. How we make sense in a senseless world.

How, when someone mows down school children, we can keep on living, keep hoping for peace in the world.

Man Writing Notes on wooden tableSee, I don’t want to be the writer who covers the school shooting. I want to be the writer who deftly crafts the portrait of a small community that would otherwise go unnoticed if not for some Big Happening to bring it to attention.

The mes and yous and the whys of our lives.

Is there anything wrong with that?

Certainly we should capture the world in our own unique ways and devote our lives to making a difference using our special talents. That what I strive to do with words. And if it comes from the heart, I have to believe it will succeed.

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