There was something I’d wanted to write for months.
It buzzed in back of my brain like a mosquito that wouldn’t go away.
I didn’t have time, though. It was summer. My kids were home full-time, so any possibility of writing during the day wouldn’t happen.
Plus, I wanted to get away to create and needed mental space to do so. I kept picturing myself typing away in a beautiful log cabin somewhere, overlooking the mountains.
Nix that idea. Too expensive and the family somehow couldn’t manage without me. (I never asked, but assumed that would be their response).
Those were all excuses. When I got honest with myself, the only thing stopping me was…
Yep, one more time, good ol’ fashioned Fear was kicking my arse. It was masked as procrastination, but it was still Fear.
Since this idea first took flight, I already knew the title:
Writing Naked: One Writer Dares to Bare All
It’s a metaphor for the vulnerability it takes to write (not X-rated porn). Still, endless questions haunted me:
What if nobody reads it?
What is nobody likes it?
What if everyone HATES it so much that I’m RUINED?!
Just Do It
One Sunday afternoon, I found myself home alone (a delicious rarity with one husband, two teenagers and their oodles of friends). Nobody would be at Casa McKay for four full hours.
It wasn’t the best of circumstances, but it was all I had.
At that point, I didn’t care. I was sick of resisting the call to write and would at least start the X@#% piece!
Sitting down, the words flooded from me. They’d been building for so long I could hardly type fast enough to keep up with my thoughts.
I finally wrote Writing Naked (but, I wasn’t naked when I wrote it).
From start to finish, the eBook took me a total of 13 days to write and publish. Granted, we’re talking about a short eBook and not a novel, but that’s not the point.
The process reminded me of the importance of taking creative risks, both in our writing and in our lives. It always strengthens us. So, cook that new recipe. Cut your hair a different way. Read a book not from your usual genre.
3 Reasons to Take Creative Risks
1. The Perfect Time to Write Will Never Come Along – You know, when your kids are older. When you have enough money to quit your job and write full time. When the very best idea comes along.
Start now, even if all you have is 15 minutes per day. It will energize you!
2. Builds Self-Confidence – I’ve got my mojo back for the first time since I lost my literary agent in September 2013. That’s not much time overall, but months and months of pain still hurt. I hate pain. I try to avoid it at all costs.
I’m back, baby, and that feels good.
3. The Outcome Doesn’t Matter – Yeah, that’s easy for me to say since Writing Naked is making its way around the world (seriously, over 200 people downloaded it in 11 days from the U.S., Algeria, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Kingdom and more).
We’re becoming Mudpie International!
The point is I felt like a rock star, and my confidence has renewed.
The fact that I helped one other person told me I was honoring my gift as writer:
“No words can describe the inspiration and hope your eBook has given to me… I went back to my own blog and found an entry from almost a year ago… fear was definite factor on not posting… I have zero FEAR…posted it…and wrote another one…so thank you Marcy!”
Each time you stare at that blank page or computer screen and write, you’re a winner.
Each time you enter a contest, you’re a winner.
Each time you query an agent or editor, you’re a winner.
When you risk yourself creatively, it strengthens yours skills as a writer, and as a person.
No matter what.
What creative risks do YOU need to take with your writing?
Please Leave me a comment. If you like this post, please pass it on to friends.
Pick up your FREE copy today of the mystery, The Moon Rises at Dawn (SkipJack Publishing). Read, enjoy, repeat.
I did read it! And I liked it too! Writing for the sheer love of the craft struck a cord.
Guess I’ve always done that, until my husband read a little of the story I’m writing and thinks it’s great… And that it will be published and make lots of money. Now the pressure is on to finish and for it to be perhaps more than I thought I was doing. now I’m having trouble getting it finished, “just for the fun of it”. It will happen… I like the story too much to leave it, however the more I read regarding composition I feel I am missing the angst, the conflict that is expected.
Marcy Mason McKay
Hi Ann – Thanks for reading Writing Naked! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Awww, sounds like you’re having performance anxiety. That’s a very real complex. Do the best you can to just get the story down and then shine it up to then decide what to do next. Is it a short-story? Novella? Novel.
Please understand I’m NOT trying to minimize your feelings, because your response is quite reasonable. However, please CELEBRATE that you have your husband’s support.
There are SO many writers out there who DO NOT have their family’s support (you’ve changed, the house is a mess, etc.), and that friction makes it really tough to write.
Thanks for the great comment.
Hmm. Performance anxiety… I guess that must be it. I’m comfortable just writing and even sharing, but there’s more pressure now! I’m about 45,000 words so.. More than a noveletta I think?!
Thanks for the reply and the positive thoughts on the support even though that appears to be my source of anxiety. LOL
Marcy Mason McKay
45,000 words? AWESOME, girl. Keep going! My suggestion is #1: do the best you can to stop spending all the bazillions of dollars you’ll make with this story, and just write. 🙂
#2: Since your husband is 150% supporting you on this, tell you him you SO appreciate his belief in you, but it’s too much pressure. He needs to dial it down about a million notches. Good luck!
Haha… No not spending money, I know there are so many writers out there and the chances of making it big are like many actors who never get recognition. I would like to just do it for me! So good suggestion for my supporter to do it quietly in the background and give me the creative space to work.
Thanks for YOUR support too! 🙂
Marcy Mason McKay
That’s what Mupdie Writing is all about. Not just me, but ALL OF US facing and fighting our creative monsters together.
Fear is a hard thing to overcome sometimes, but so worth it in the end!
Marcy Mason McKay
You are so right, Robyn, but we both know that feeling when FEAR FEELS ALL-CONSUMING! Creative risks are a big leap of faith, but the rewards so outweigh the risks. Thanks!
I for one, am glad that I read your book “Writing Naked”. (I loved the title! I HAD to get the book once I read the title because it implied the writer would bare all, and show vulnerability. As I was feeling vulnerable as a writer, it called to me!)
It gave me the inspiration and courage to continue writing my novel. And it came at the most opportune time – when dealing with writer’s burnout and writer’s doubt!
Congratulations on the success of your book!
You are right, creativity IS important in all aspects of our lives! If we are too afraid to be creative in our daily lives, how then are we supposed to be able to create full and interesting worlds and lives in our stories?
By living overly-cautiously, it can cause our creativity to shrivel up and turn to stone.
But, fully embracing our creativity and living our lives fully, (How can you not why you are embracing your creativity?) we are allowing ourselves to be the best writers (and humans) we can be!
I enjoy taking creative risks!
Be it cutting, coloring, or styling my hair different ways, waxing my eyebrows in the middle of the night, (Why is that a creative risk, you may ask? Because, I was half asleep and ended up with half a left eyebrow – it had to be the bushiest part too! What a mother does, just to do things in peace!) allowing myself to learn new things, pushing aside the fear of “What if” and writing what and how I Feel I should write – no matter how scary it may be.
As rule, if it causes fear, I challenge myself to acknowledge the fear and Do it anyway!
Anything could go wrong, (so the characters in my book have discovered!) but, then, anything could also go Right!
I love what you said about being a winner! Have just entered a writing contest, I needed to read this! This is my first contest, and am I nervous!
Thanks once again, for inspiring your readers to become even Better writers!
Marcy Mason McKay
AWESOME, Kitty! It was all fabulous, but this is what spoke to me most:
1. If we are too afraid to be creative in our daily lives, how then are we
supposed to be able to create full and interesting worlds and lives in
2. As rule, if it causes fear, I challenge myself to acknowledge the fear and Do it anyway!
Congratulations, Kitty on entering your first contest. And seriously, NO MATTER what the judges say, you’re a winner for risking yourself. Good luck
Marcy, your book has given me encouragement at a very low point. Thanks! I feel I can nail it all now. I was so relieved to read Writing Naked. I’ve been scared of two things mainly, fear of not being able to finish what I started and being judged by family, friends, colleagues… I have lost a chunk of that fear reading Writing Naked. I believe I will conquer the rest of it…Writing with all the push and courage I feel right now! Thanks Again
Sagarika from Mumbai, India
Marcy Mason McKay
Fantastic,Sagarika! I’m so glad that Writing Naked helped you so much and REALLY appreciate you taking time to tell me. You’re correct, writing is the KEY to make our fear of writing go away. However, don’t be surprised when Fear tries to stop you again once you get going because that’s Fear’s job, KEEP WRITING!
Hi there – I’ve just come across your great encouraging website, but can you please answer a question for me? I’ve always had the idea of writing at the back of my brain, and throughout my life when I was told I should be a writer I was aghast at the idea! What me? No bloody way, writing is solitary, writing is being with just your terror! Instead I wrote down everything I could, every great imagined sentence, every story or novel idea, for later. Now it’s later, and now I’ve got at least ten years of notes. I am daunted. I just don’t know where to begin? It’s scary, and I just sit there awash with all the words. Frozen. I can’t start anything, and now I’m convinced my only legacy will be all these notes? How do you think I should begin? And please don’t think I’m showing off either, but I think you can also be unfocused and full of ideas as opposed to staring at a blank page, can’t you?
Marcy Mason McKay
I’m so glad you found MPW and I’m delighted to have you here. As far as your writing, I think it’s WHAT you want to accomplish, and only you have that answer. If it’s a memoir or inspirational piece, you need to read through all your notes to find out what to use.
If it’s a novel, you need to start at page one and start writing. It’s not easy, but that’s the only way to do it.
Don’t let perfectionism turn you into a procrastinator. These past ten years have not been for nothing. There’s no such thing as wasted writing. You were making writing a habit. Now, you’re ready to move to the next level. Good for you.