Humility — The Inner Dimension.
Seeing the truth about yourself is always at the core of any good writing—fiction, memoir, reportage, essay, short-story, love letter, hate letter.
To write well, you have to be humble enough to see the truth. It takes diligence and surrender to reach that kind of brutal, ego-stripping honesty.
Words come and at first, they’re probably very bad. You follow where the naked surrender has taken you, not sure if it’s ever going to amount to anything. Writing becomes its own end. You barely have the will to persevere. Sinking feelings and ferocious self-doubt demons swirl around you, laughing and pointing and telling you you’ll never make it.
The best writing requires us to do our best despite the gremlins nipping at our heels—despite the fact that no one may ever see our best effort, or even look in our direction. When you persevere, and keep writing, that is humility.
Chutzpah —The Outer Culmination.
Putting your self-expression out there for others to read and judge takes guts. It’s as simple and as complicated as baring your soul to a room full of enemies and strangers. We especially think about those who might want to use our words against us. Nothing about it feels safe.
You may think you are hiding things from people—that you are portraying yourself this way or that—as brave and carefree, as peaceful and deeply loving, as connected and grounded—and maybe you are those things.
But maybe you aren’t.
And if you aren’t, readers will be able to sense it. Your insecurities are hidden inside a glass house, which the outside world can (almost always) see right through.
You must ask yourself: Have I been honest enough?
Have I been true?
Scary answers to big questions—and follow-through requires that you grow a pair, and be willing to face the consequences.