Dare to be Vulnerable in Your Writing

Laura Drake

I had no idea what I was going to write about this month. I felt like I’d done it all. Then I read Jenny’s post from Brené Brown (If you haven’t read it, it’s HERE). #7 hit me in the heart. See, I’d forgotten. Vulnerability is my super-power.

I went through a pretty traumatic childhood and then bad decisions on my part left me with thick armor. At one point in my life, I was afraid of good things happening, because I thought the Universe wanted balance, and that meant something bad was coming. Yeah, sad, I know.

My natural buoyancy pulled me out of the sludge. I’m not special; no one gets through life without being battered, besieged and challenged. I mention it only to give context.

This is about being open, laying out what you have to say on the page. I’ve heard writers who were afraid to write what was in their heart, for fear of what family and friends would think. Hell, what perfect strangers would think! (Because that’s what reviews are, right?) I get their fear. I really do.

But think back, to when you first decided to write. What did you choose to write? I don’t care if you wrote Paranormal, Rom Com, Sci-fi, or end-of-the-world dystopian–I know one thing. Deep down in the conflict of that work, you were writing what was in your heart. Genre doesn’t matter—that’s just how our brain chooses to cover our heart’s exposure.

I’m here to challenge you to open yourself. Lay yourself bare in your writing. Strip off the mask we all wear. Why?

  • Because you want to. Dig deep—you know it’s true.
  • Because that’s the best writing you’ll ever do.
  • Because that’s why readers read—they want to connect, on an emotional level with other humans. Here’s proof. What books are on your keeper shelf? I’ll bet if you were to look, you could tell me what each book meant to you—what chord it touched in your heart.
  • Because readers will love and respect you for it. Our heroes are, after all, those who risked it all, in spite of the dangers and the odds. Right?
  • Because it’s good for your soul, putting out your truth out there in black and white that will exist after you’re gone. But also because, when people tell you your work touched them, it’s the hand clasp you needed when you wrote it. We all need those. The world needs those. Desperately.

This is a risk. It’s scary. Believe me, I know.

I wrote a book to my sister, my soul-mate, whom I lost at 32 to cancer. There is nothing autobiographical about Days Made of Glass, but the bond between the two sisters is one I shared with Nancy. I had to wait 15 years until I thought I was good enough to write it. I opened my heart and spilled the contents on the page. I couldn’t do anything less and do the book, and my sister, justice.

And guess what? That book is the highest rated of any I ever wrote. I had readers contact me, and tell me what it meant to them.

Isn’t that why we write?

Go. Be brave. Be vulnerable. I promise you it’ll be worth it.

Have you risked being vulnerable in your writing? Have I convinced you to try?

Shared blood defines a family, but spilled blood can too.

Harlie Cooper raised her sister, Angel, even before their mother died. When their guardian is killed in a fire, rather than be separated by Social Services, they run. Life in off the grid in L.A. isn’t easy, but worse, there’s something wrong with Angel.

Harlie walks in to find their apartment scattered with shattered and glass and Angel, a bloody rag doll in a corner. The doctor orders institutionalization in a state facility. Harlie’s not leaving her sister in that human warehouse. But something better takes money. Lots of it.

When a rep from the Pro Bull Riding Circuit suggests she train as a bullfighter, rescuing downed cowboys from their rampaging charges, she can’t let the fact that she’d be the first woman to attempt this stop her. Angel is depending on her.

It’s not just the danger and taking on a man’s career that challenges Harlie. She must learn to trust—her partner and herself, and learn to let go of what’s not hers to save.

A story of family and friendship, trust and truth.

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