Writing is Putting Yourself on the Line
Updated: Feb 29
I just finished writing a nonfiction book, The True Adventures of Gidon Lev. It took me two and a half years of blood, sweat, and tears. And I'm terrified.
I put more than time into this book; I put my soul into it too. For the whole world to see and to judge.
I have been an editor for many years now and yes, I have written and been published before but this time, it was personal. My book is about my life partner, my best friend, the most handsome, funny man I have ever met and a person who is also a Holocaust survivor.
Am I good enough to write about such a topic? How can I think that my opinion, my values, my "take" is worthy of sharing? I think about the many writers I have worked with over time, mostly fiction writers, and the stories that they tell that also reveal the deepest parts of themselves and suddenly, I am filled with humility.
Writing is hard enough without also making yourself utterly vulnerable before the world. Even if only two dozen people read your book - or one dozen - or 10,000 - "blood on the page" could not be more real when it comes to revealing, through fiction or non, your darkest fears, highest hopes, and innermost dreams.
Being a writer and editor of many years, when I completed my book, there was no question in my mind that I would get beta reads for my book and employ a great editor. The doctor cannot heal herself! I chose an editor who "got" my voice, who "got" the direction of my project, and who had the patience and loving encouragement to help me say what I wanted to say.
I am reminded, more than ever, why I love my job. I love writers, I get what they are putting on the line, and it is with the utmost care, encouragement and respect that I offer my notes, feedback, and editing skills.
I think the reason that I am so humbled right now, more than I ever have, is that I feel, very viscerally, more than ever, that it takes guts to put your writing out there. I have written a lot about what writers should and shouldn't do - heck I published a book for screenwriters - but now more than ever, I understand that the Courage Quotient is something to be in awe of.
To all you writers who might be reading this, you have my utmost respect and admiration. There are fewer things harder to do than to put your entire soul on the line in the form of a book. You are my heroes.