Why writing dangerously? According to Abercrombie in her book:
Because there’s always a sense of risk when you write–fear that maybe someone will deny your version of things, or that they’ll get mad and disown you, or that maybe you’ll make a fool of yourself and expose too much or too little. Writing your own truth, even under the veils and masks of fiction, will always feel dangerous. It will also feel liberating.”
I think similar thoughts and worries stalk us whenever we create anything. There are sooo many self-doubts swirling in our minds, so many kicking around in our bodies. So we need reminders and support and a nudge to start and to keep going.
That’s why I wanted to share my favorite parts from A Year of Writing Dangerously. You can use these words to support your writing practice or any creative project or journey you’re embarking on. And you can use these words as guiding lights for your life. Because the creative process often translates into everything else.
Abercrombie’s book is packed with illuminating insights and comforting words. Below are quotes from different writers and excerpts from Abercrombie. Jot down the words that are meaningful to you inside your journal or somewhere visible. Let these words spark your creative fire.
“Whether it’s true or out of your imagination, you own your story. You paid for it (trust me, you did). It’s all yours. Use it, turn it inside out, cut it up, stretch it any way you please. Just remember: you own it. It’s yours. Your version of what happened.” ~ Barbara Abercrombie
“A writer’s duty is to register what it is like for him or her to be in the world.” ~ Zadie Smith
“I figured out, over and over, point A, where the chapter began, and point B, where it ended, and what needed to happen to get my people from A to B. And then how the B of the last chapter would lead organically into point A of the next chapter. The book moved along like the alphabet, like a vivid and continuous dream.” ~ Anne Lamott
“If you write for yourself, you’ll reach all the people you want to write for.” ~ William Zinsser
“I suffer as always from the fear of putting down the first line. It is amazing the terrors, the magics, the prayers, the straitening shyness that assail one.” ~ John Steinbeck
“I write to discover. I write to uncover. I write to meet my ghosts….I write because it is dangerous, a bloody risk, like love, to form the words.” ~ Terry Tempest Williams
“It’s about truth, not perfection.” ~ Barbara Abercrombie
“When students read what they’ve written about people they’ve loved, friends and family, parents and grandparents–especially those who are gone–I realize (again and again) how sacred the act of putting stories into words on a page is.” ~ Barbara Abercrombie
“So long as people read, those we loved survive however evanescently. As do we writers, saying with our life’s work, Remember. Remember us. Remember me.” ~ Marge Piercy
“Joan Didion once said that she used the good silver every day because today is all we have.” ~ Barbara Abercrombie
“Writers write about things that other people don’t pay much attention to.” ~ Natalie Goldberg
“Why write? Because you’re alive and breathing and the natural world is a miraculous place that needs to be loved and celebrated and remembered.” ~ Barbara Abercrombie
What are your favorite quotes? What words inspire you to write? To create?