Writers are told all the time to write what they know, to write what they love. Lord knows I hear that plenty these days. I'm in the midst of retooling my career, figuring out where I want to go from here, and most of the advice has been a mix of frustrating and meh.
But recently I got a slice of perfect advice from a fantasy writer I really respect. He said that years ago he was at a crossroads and wanted to write a deeply personal book, but he was worried that at the time he didn't have the chops to do the story or character justice. He was advised to go ahead and write it, to bleed it onto the page, so he did. I gather it wasn't easy, but he's a finisher, and he did the work. Even though he can see the craft flaws in that book now, he is happy with it because he learned, through the process, to be vulnerable.
I haven't challenged myself so personally yet. I've said all along, I write characters who aren't me because, dude, I am a really boring person--maybe even a shitty person--and ain't nobody want to read a whole book about that girl.
But, what if that inside person, the vulnerable me, is interesting because I hate her so much? If I can learn to accept her and love her and make her into a hero, would that journey be interesting to readers who also struggle with self-confidence?
Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, I need to write it anyway. I need to learn how to open my psyche up and let it bleed on a page. Slice, hurt, learn, grow.
Gotta tell you, this is scary stuff, but also kind of ... exciting? Will let y'all know how it goes.