Courage, Mon Brave!

Everywhere I look at the moment – on-line, at least – people are being incredibly open and honest and I admire them for it.

Out there in the blogosphere, Wendy Clarke is admitting that it’s hard (and guilt-inducing) to write short stories as well as a novel (so say all of us!), so her shorts are having to take a back seat, just for a little while.

Jo Derrick has admitted in her recent blog post that it’s lonely, being a writer and, also, she doesn’t believe she’s been true to herself.

Best-selling novelist Samantha Tonge has recently opened up for the first time about her alcohol addiction.

And in a Facebook group I belong to, for ‘womag’ (women’s magazine) short story writers, a few brave souls are admitting that they will be signing the new Woman’s Weekly contract that will give the magazine ‘all rights’ to their stories because, as much as they’d like to support the many writers who are boycotting the magazine, they can’t afford to do otherwise.

Whatever your reasons for baring your soul on-line, I think most readers respond favourably when someone is brave enough to admit to mistakes or weaknesses or worries.

My post in which I admitted that I wasn’t sure I really wanted to be a published novelist (I know, I should be so lucky!), seemed to strike a chord, as did my earlier post about feeling stressed.

We all know you have to be brave to write ‘from the heart’, about the things that matter to you. If you stop playing it safe and put the ‘real you’ out there, it’s exposing.

Nobel Laureate author V S Naipaul, who died recently, once said, “An autobiography can distort; facts can be realigned. But fiction never lies: it reveals the writer totally.”


OK, let’s practice. If you could go back, what three things would you tell your younger self?

I started this a few times and I chickened out. I’m not brave enough to put the real ones on here but the not-so-serious ones would be:

#1 Start writing NOW!
#2 Eat more fruit and veg
#3 If a job is boring, it’s not the right job.

Novelist Joanna Cannon has just brought out a free e-book “Three Things I’d Tell My Younger Self” which has quotes from all kinds of people. It makes you think. You can download it here.

And if you’d like to comment with the 3 things you’d tell your younger self, feel free! Go on – I dare you!

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11 Responses to Courage, Mon Brave!

  1. 1. Be honest with yourself.
    2. It’s okay to say no.
    3. Read as much of the genre you want to read even if it’s not the popular thing all your friends are reading.

  2. pennywrite says:

    Really, truly, don’t give a fig whenever anyone rubbishes women’s fiction… you probably won’t change their minds, so you don’t have to say anything!

  3. Wendy Clarke says:

    I feel so much better for having been honest with myself. I wrote two novels whilst struggling to keep up my quota of magazine stories and felt guilty all the time. This time I emailed my regular magazine (The People’s Friend) to let them know I wouldn’t be writing as much. They were so supportive as It was such a relief.

    • Helen Yendall says:

      I can imagine, Wendy. Sometimes we have to admit that, with the best will in the world, we can’t do everything. Glad that PF were so supportive!

  4. Maria says:

    1. Rid yourself of toxic people quickly
    2. Stay fit
    3. Travel

  5. Keith Havers says:

    Enjoy it.
    Be creative.
    Don’t give up.

  6. 1. Never give up on your dreams
    2. Don’t go to sleep on a quarrel
    3. Have fun!

  7. Jane Wharmby says:

    1. Nobody is as confident as they look
    2. Don’t waste time worrying about your weight
    3. Get on and read ‘Pride and Prejudice’… and watch the BBC adaptation (I’m ashamed to say I have still not done either).

    and on the theme of being brave, my coach has just recommended Brene Brown’s book ‘Daring Greatly’ to me and her audio book, The Power of Vulnerability…

    • Ooh, Jane, how lovely to get your ‘3 Things I’d Tell My Younger Self’! I had to laugh at the third one. I don’t think you are ever going to read P&P or watch the BBC adaptation but never mind…I forgive you! (let’ me know what the ‘Daring Greatly’ book is like!)

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