Writing What You Know by Meg Files


My so-called writer’s vacation has changed. It doesn’t really feel like a vacation anymore and doesn’t deserve the term. It is not because I don’t enjoy writing, but because the writing is less about being a carefree story crafter, and has become much more about finding healing through writing. Even though it is not what I had in mind, I can see how much I need this before I can become the artist I feel I am. I understand now how to find my real voice.

I may enter my first short story contest (Writer’s Digest, under 1500 words, deadline January 16th), but what is more important now is getting down deeper to what underlies my fatigue and the frustration of creative energies to release myself from that fatigue and release those creative energies more completely than ever.

I have Meg Files to thank for that. I’m reading her book Writing What You Know (it gets a 5-star rating here on good reads). I highly recommend it. Some of what I’ve written lately will never be seen by anyone. I’ve had to drop the barriers between confessional ‘diary’ writing and ‘fiction.’ Now I’m writing things — telling my stories — that have wanted to come out of me for years, but that I really did not want to think about again or see staring back at me from a page. This is seasoning me as a writer and healing me as a human being.

I’ve only read to page 45 in Writing What You Know, but that page alone had a transformative effect on me just today. I put the book down and did it. I wrote pen to paper what one minute previously I had not even known wanted to come out of me.

We are all full of stories, because we have all lived them. If we’ll stop thinking of our lives as not interesting, as boring, as mostly uneventful, then we might just get in touch with the very real humanity that wants to tell the stories we’re already carrying with us. Meg’s book helps us do that.

Write it and burn it if you have to. Or write it and read it at an open mic near you. But write it.

Meg Files, author and teacher of creative writing.

Meg Files, author and teacher of creative writing.

Thank you, Meg. Blessings upon you.

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