So, I just read this 2011 Guardian interview with Frank Turner (who I love with a kind of love that makes me want to tattoo myself somewhere even though I have never gotten a tattoo and am pretty sure that they hurt a lot), and this line struck me:
“I have trained myself now that if I write a line and it makes me wince, I leave it in,” he says. “It means I have touched something important.”
Seeing how Turner consistently churns out such raw, evocative lyrics, I’m tempted to take this as advice. Make yourself wince. Pick at emotional scabs. Create discomfort within yourself. That’s how you know you’ve hit on an emotional truth.
That’s much easier said than done. I can recall plenty of times where I’ve reined myself in while I wrote. Creating hard limits for myself. Not wanting to offend or embarrass anyone–least of all, myself. I quite like being comfortable and leaving my scabs alone to heal.
But I love the idea of training myself to forget my own discomfort. Of not shying away from the wince-worthy stuff.
Do you keep the wince-worthy stuff in your writing? Or are you lured in by the siren song of emotional comfort?