By Kariss Lynch
One of my coworkers likes to say that when God created me and was determining my giftings, He tapped me on the head and said, “Storyteller.” It’s pretty clear that this particular trait manifests itself better on paper than audibly. When the jumbled mess in my head begins to flow onto the page in coherent strands, magic happens.
My first book, Shaken, just released in February. The excitement is undeniable but so are the nerves. If you’ve released a book, you know what I mean.
You spent hours, days, behind closed doors, just you and your computer, crafting each sentence and choosing each word with care. You fell in love with the characters, painted the scene just right, developed each line of dialogue. It flowed out of you, right? Sometimes you had to stare at the screen for a while before the magic happened, but when it finally did, it was a thing of beauty, a piece of yourself left raw on the page.
Then it is edited, bound, packaged, and placed in a store for the world to love or criticize. You are on cloud nine, excited that all your hard work paid off. Your friends and family start seeing a different side to your humor, learn you are in fact a closet romantic (or maybe that’s just me), and then realize that you poured your very heart into your manuscript. And that’s where it gets a little scary for me – that messy thing called vulnerability.
Messy yet beautiful. After a short while, the reader emails begin to arrive and all of a sudden, the time, heart, and effort you poured into your book are more than worth it, and the vulnerability encourages vulnerability in your readers.
The point of writing is to share a story that changes someone. The point of vulnerability is to engage. So it stands to reason that as writers, writing and vulnerability are inextricably tied. Vulnerability in life and in writing comes at a price – freedom for the giver and the recipient. It unlocks the floodgates for better connection with our readers. And it unlocks a depth in ourselves that makes us stronger people.
In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown says, “Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.” Even when the writing doesn’t flow, when the edits don’t come easily, lean into the process. Embrace the opportunity to engage with your readers by leaving everything you have and everything you are on the page. Be all in. And then watch the results.
How do you engage in vulnerability in your writing?
Kariss Lynch began her writing career in third grade with a story about a magical world for a class assignment. As an adult, she fell in love with writing faith-based fiction about characters with big dreams, adventurous spirits, and bold hearts. Her first novel, Shaken, released in February 2014.