This excellent quote was sent to me by a very fun, encouraging agent. It totally fits for the manuscript I just finished and for how I try to live. It’s also a great way to approach the craft of writing and the topics I (or you) choose to write.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the old wisdom “write what you know.” That can be limiting when there’s so much diversity in the world. I feel more drawn to the advice “write what you want to know more about.”
While I feel nervous writing about people who are very different from me, I want to learn more about people who live and think and believe differently than me. I don’t want to claim to speak for them. I want to try to walk in their shoes in an attempt to increase my empathy and the empathy of my readers. I want to write about things that are scary to me and scary to readers. I want to build up my own bravery and the bravery of my readers.
It can be scary to step out of our comfort zones and try new things. It was scary the first time I swam a mile in open water. It was scary the first time I shared my work with an agent and took some serious critique. It was scary the first time I volunteered to read stories at a free lunch site in my community. It’s scary when we put ourselves out there, but what’s even scarier is what I would have missed if I hadn’t tried.
What have you done lately that was outside of your comfort zone?