As a writer, how often are you bold? How often do you take a risk with your art?
When was the last time you wrote something that made you uncomfortable, nervous, or anxious? Something that made your gut churn a little, made you sweat… but under the perspiration was the desire — maybe even a compulsion — to do the very thing causing so much angst?
Maybe it’s a matter of writing outside your usual genre, or using a different narrative point of view than you’re used to. Maybe it’s writing an explicit sex scene, or a gory / violent one, unlike anything you’ve ever tried but necessary and integral to the story you’re telling. Maybe you’re finally writing about that maddening relative, or an unrequited love.
By the way… it’s not at all bold to write something that will never be seen by anyone other than you. It’s got to be out there in the world to truly consider it a risk.
How about it?
How long’s it been since you were driven by undeniable need to be legitimately bold with your art?
Being Bold: The Vulnerability – Risk – Reward Chain
Why should you bother being bold?
“Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth, at least the truth that is given to us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.” ~ Pablo Picasso
The lie is in the presentation of the truth. Whether in fiction (where nearly everything written is likely a fabrication, from the characters to the setting to the weather) or in non-fiction (where the “facts” are represented through the lens of, and in a manner chosen by, the author), all writing is lying.
And in sincere (sin = one / cere = growth, or, coming from one undiluted and pure source) art, truth comes closest to universal relevancy when the “lie” is personal.
To reveal something deeply personal in the service of empathy and mutual understanding is a pretty good definition of vulnerability.
Because we’re hard-wired to keep ourselves literally and figuratively guarded and safe, vulnerability is a risk — a bold act with a potential for great reward that nonetheless exposes one to the possibility of pain.
That great reward?
For a writer, authenticity is everything.
It’s a credential granting our writing broader acceptance and resonance. It’s what raises a body of work from entertainment to something that speaks across generations and transforms it from a distraction to a culture-shaping meme.
The Benefits of Boldness In Everyday Life
When you’re bold and make boldness a practice not just in your writing, but throughout your life, you’ll discover it has benefits beyond your art that, naturally, feed back into your art.
Most things we’re afraid to try, afraid to ask for, afraid to risk… turn out to be not so out of reach or unreasonable after all. It’s just your brain doing what it’s designed to do: keep you safe and sound in the realm of the familiar.
Each success, each “yes,” will build your confidence and self-esteem and recalibrate your brain so that it doesn’t automatically confuse a social risk with legitimate danger.
The better you inherently believe you have a right to at least attempt the risk, the more likely you are to act on it with certainty.
The more others perceive you as able to deliver, the more likely they are to recognize your authority… which will open you to the opportunity to be bolder still, take greater risks, and create art that’s even more sincere and authentic.
Being bold means embracing deliberate risk. The practice of boldness over time will make you more confident, which serves to broadcast your own validity, both to others and yourself.
The greater your confidence, the more comfortable you’ll be with your own truth, and, as a writer, with your ability to communicate that truth with vulnerability, honesty, specificity, and universality.
Adopt a practice of boldness.
Encourage others to do the same by using the hashtag #declareforbold when you share your moments of boldness in the comments of this post and on social media.
Make being bold part of your life and your art!