Are you ready to show vulnerability in your writing?

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about showing vulnerability in writing…

Have you ever allowed yourself to show vulnerability in writing?

My guess is you probably answered either ‘no’ or ‘rarely,’ especially if you are male. But give some thought to how you might start being more vulnerable in your writing because there is great power in this type of honesty.

In my book Your Happy First Draft, I describe my own failure as a honours student in Political Science many years ago where I finished the program by the skin of my teeth (because I had such a hard time writing my thesis.)

I have not had any blow-back from this revelation and, in fact, quite the reverse. Many readers have told me how much they appreciated my frank attitude. Blogger Darren Rowse addressed the same issue in a recent blog post under the headline, “The Power of Being Vulnerable.

Rowse also describes four helpful questions that writers should ask themselves before sharing. They are:

  1. “Am I ready to share this?”
  2. Why am I sharing this?”
  3. “Am I oversharing?”
  4. “Will this hurt someone I love?”

His last question resonated particularly with me because I come from a large and exceptionally opinionated family. (I am one of five kids.) Here is how Rowse described what he did:

“In my article I talked about periods of my life that I shared with my friends and family, and I didn’t want to offend any of them. So I had to work really hard – rewording and expanding some parts, and deleting others – so I could show my vulnerability without hurting anyone else.”

In short, it’s wise to show your vulnerability in writing. But it’s important to be thoughtful and careful as you do it.

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