1. Let’s start with the easiest one – Ask yourself what you’re afraid to write about. Bingo. Write this for yourself – you don’t have to share it with other people unless you want to.
2. Trust the words that come out of you. Don’t make them “better.” If you hear the word “shit” or “puss” or “pumpkinhead,” those are the words you should use. Shooting from the hip – just to get the words on paper – is the best way to land something real. It’s your subconscious in action.
3. Never try to pretty up your writing and write things that are appropriate or nice. The more real you are, the more accessible and trustworthy you are to readers. It’s like meeting them at the door with bed-head vs all gussied up. Bed-head is gorgeous you without the frills. We like you better that way.
4. Write as if no one is going to read what you’re writing. This is a practice.
5. Try writing in the second person. The distance you can get when you refer to yourself as, “you,” is amazing. There’s a lot of freedom there.
6. Your truth will resonate with other people. After years and years of working with folks, I believe we’re all in the same soup. Different details, same story.
7. We are all moved when we’re around people who are taking risks and telling the truth. When you tell the truth on paper or in person, you’re showing people how big the territory is so they can step in and join you. It’s an end to loneliness.
8. Be specific, use real details, avoid generalities. If you hear the line, “I need you Bill, but I do not love you,” write that instead of “I’m just not feeling it.
9. Start a sentence with, “If you really knew me…” and finish the sentence. Write that sentence over and over changing the ending. See if you can surprise yourself.
10. Start a sentence with “This is not a story about…” and you will find yourself backing straight into the story you are wanting to tell.
Zoe, Truth Teller