What to do if your writing feels fake.
Despite my best intentions to always be brave and honest, sometimes my writing feels fake. This happens when I'm trying to impress somebody with my sentences -- that could be myself, a publisher, Annie Proulx, or my Aunt Mary Lucille.
When you write to impress, you're not being yourself. You're trying to be something that you think someone wants you to be.
When falseness happens, it feels gross. You would never act that way around your friends!
The books that I love to read are beautiful because the writing is risky, weird, honest and uncommon. I love writing that is funny, unexpected, and truthful - writing that refuses to fake it.
I love writing that speaks out of line, even when it knows it might not be nice to say the truth.
(Of course, these are the same qualities I adore in my close friends.)
Author Don Miller gives three words of concentrated advice that snap us out of it:
Don't be careful.
Stop walking on those delicate sugar crystals!
When you're being careful, you're not being real. You're not being yourself. You're operating from somewhere else - some projection of yourself that is false. It's false for whatever reason - fear, shame, insecurity, etc.
Your best, most creative work comes from your core self. This part of you - the language she uses, the opinions he expresses - may be flawed, weird or uncommon.
Alors! This is precisely what gives it character.
In fact, it's what people want to read. It's what you want to read. And when you are honest with yourself, you know that this is also what you want to write.
You can only truly connect with people through your writing when you are not being careful. Anything else is fake.
So please write whatever you want to write. Say what you really think. Write your characters the way they really are. Describe the world the way you really see it.
Snap out of it! Write without trying to impress anyone; just enjoy writing.