Over this past year I've become a much braver writer. I've always felt I was very honest, but recently, I've definitely felt more courageous about taking chances in the stories I write.
As a result, I've received far more messages from readers containing words like crying and sobbing, and my most favorite phrases - 'You wrecked me.' and 'Your writing slays me.'
I can't deny, I get an overwhelming sense to do much of the same when I read such things. Nor can I make secret of the fact that I still don't ever know how to respond to such messages. "I'm sorry" is pretty much the first thing that comes to mind...but am I? Sorry? To evoke feelings in someone through story-telling is a pretty remarkable experience. One I didn't know I would ever get to experience so thoroughly. So, no. I guess I'm really not.
When I started writing, my goal was simply to entertain. I wanted to write relate-able characters, provide a healthy dose of sarcastic humor and then tie it all up in a happily ever after bow. But...I wasn't aiming high. I come by the sarcasm naturally. I wrote characters I knew were real and relate-able because they ARE real and relate-able most of the time. And Happy Ever After? It's easy. It's what we all want. It's what we all expect. From our fiction anyway. I mean, that's the whole point of writing, right? You get to create the ending you want. And who wants a bad ending?!
Now...my goal is still to entertain. I still want to write real characters, and the sarcasm isn't going anywhere either...but I'm not scared to tackle more than the standard romantic tropes anymore. I'm not afraid of reaching into the tough topics or unconventional plots with both hands and seeing what I pull out. And I know it's not always going to be pretty. It's definitely not always going to be easy. But man...so far it's been worth it.
So...I'm braver now about what I write.
And then I'm fucking terrified about sharing it.
But I'm more courageous too...so I do it anyway.