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You’ve Got Some Nerve!

Do you have the audacity it takes to write with authority and conviction?

So, you have thoughts, theories, philosophical ideals and opinions. So what? So does everyone else. The internet is teeming with content spanning the ranges between horrible, to mediocre, and from outrageously brilliant to fluff. So, how do you separate yourself from the herd and lob your point over the walls of the banal? In a word, audacity!

You must find your audacity!

It’s one thing to write, many people do it with varying degrees of passion and commitment and for different reasons. Writing is a noble and worthwhile personal venture and pastime often engaged solely to organize one’s thoughts and convey sentiment; however, should you have the desire to craft your writing in such a way as to entertain, advise and enthrall your esteemed reader, be it one or one thousand, you must write with audacity.

You must steel yourself and your nerve when deciding to persist beyond a fanciful hobby, you must dare yourself to share your opinions or experiences with bold clarity, even when they run the risk of ruffling the feathers and sensibilities of some of the more sedate cattle in the herd. If you are sincere in your convictions you must write your truth with audacity.

If you already have it (congratulations) or are in the process of cultivating genuine audacity you’ll have a fighting chance at developing beyond a hobbyist.

What do you have that’s uniquely yours?

As writers you have your unique perspective. A way in which you, and only you, experience the world. Think of it like an internal thumb print. A unique view of some experience or observation which takes shape and form from within you and in turn is born into the world by the way in which you choose to tell the story. In this way, you have made something real for someone else.

Taking this further, since everyone has this vantage point, we must recognize, uncover and develop in ourselves our voice, a way to translate what we’ve perceived and communicate it back to the reader. You have something genuine when you’re able to do this, something which penetrates the cacophony of other voices that surround the esteemed reader and stands out.

Audacity: Risky or Rude?

Sometimes it’s a little of both. Audacity is one of those nouns which is defined or implicated by seemingly opposing conditions depending upon how exactly it’s employed. Even the the dictionary gives two distinctly different definitions of audacity. Writers should love this because audacity seems to be context dependent and potentially a contrast in itself, depending on how you deploy it.

Did you know you can actually be courageous and rude at the same time?

Let’s face it, we owe our readers something authentic for their time, something they can sink their imaginationary teeth in to, something that’ll bite back (a little) when they do, too. This is the least we can invest of ourselves and talents toward the sacred exchange of time and attention which the reader generously lends us. To do this we must hone the courage and audacity to show ourselves, fly our freak flags when necessary and tell the truth, as we see it.

Being audacious doesn’t mean being phony

Look, who doesn’t enjoy a thrilling display of pyrotechnical prose interlaced with expletives and gratuitously descriptive adjectives topped off with an exclamation mark or interobang for good measure?

If the ‘shoe’ fits… well then, “walk it by yourself, now, walk it by yourself…” give the reader what you’ve got — in every glorious detail which compelled you to write it in the first place. Being an audacious writer means holding back nothing when the time is right to tell the story only you can tell.

But, if you’re audacity roots are too shallow and you’ve filled the page with less substance and too much verbal flash and bling, there’s a good chance you’ll come off phony or worse, insincere, mechanical or (gasp) BOR-ring. When editing let your mantra be, ‘sometimes less is more’ and you may be surprised by the compact power within a brief, well-crafted sentence.

Whatever you write about, be it fiction or creative nonfiction, you must believe in what you write. If you don’t absolutely believe the story or in the characters you’re building, how can you ask anyone else to believe in them?

Here’s an excellent book on writing short fiction.

It’s ‘dated’ (40 years in print), but timeless in writing analysis and insight for any genre of writing really, and definitely worth your time.

Cultivate the audacity to believe in yourself even when the well of inspiration returns no echo

One of the most difficult things for a writer to do, especially if you’ve built a modest fan base, is to remain silent and pause when you have nothing of inspired substance to say. This feat, in itself, takes courage. To step back and allow others the right of way is an audacious act of faith in one’s own gifts and talents and the power of writing well.

It’s tempting to keep on tap dancing even after you’ve fallen into the orchestra pit but you and your audience might be better served by a little rest, reprieve and recovery. Best to gather yourself and your tutu and find the audaciousness to believe in yourself and your writing and return with something worthy of your readers’ time.

Find within you the audacity to be wrong

Writing with conviction is a must for a writer and it’s also thrilling to be in such a position of passion and verve; however it also means being willing to risk being wrong. It doesn’t mean abjectly disregarding facts and research in favor of sensationalism. It means making an honest mistake or a premature conclusion but with the integrity to admit your errors and correct them when they occur.

© S Lynn Knight, 2017
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