Zinsser wrote, In Writing Well, chapter 5, “I’m talking about two different issues. One is craft, the other is attitude. The first is a question of mastering a precise skill. The second is a question of how you use that skill to express your personality.”
Craft is something I’m in constant learning mode, some mastered and others I’m still working on.
Using the skill to express personality is difficult at times. I’m highly sensitive to people’s reactions and don’t want to offend anyone. If you’re the kind of writer who tiptoes with your writing, I say good for you. But, I need to write the rawness of my story, with my style and my voice.
I finally got the courage to write authentically after realizing that even though many people think it’s unacceptable to tell hard parts of their story, I don’t. But, what I ask those people is—what kind of stories are in the Bible that many of you read. Are the stories glossed over and do the characters seem perfect, untainted, and sinless? No! I would have no hope otherwise. The story of Moses (committed murder, hid for forty years and married a foreigner), Naomi (bitter), Job (suffered many afflictions and yelled at God), Tamar (a victim of incest), the King David (muderer, adulterer, to name a few), Mephibosheth (a cripple and one of my favorite stories), Peter (betrayer, denyer, impulsive), Paul (a terrorist and murderer) and many more. These characters all found redemption. I read memoirs about redemption. My story is about redemption. So when I’m met with a wall of stone silence, gulps, gasps and how-could-you-say-thats, I push on because this is my story and it’s important to me and those who need redemption. So, please bear with me and I’ll bear with you.
And my favorite lines are; “But on the larger issue of whether the reader likes you or likes what you are saying or how you are saying it, or agrees with it, or feels an affinity for your sense of humor or your vision of life, don’t give them a moment’s worry. You are who you are, he is who he is, and either you’ll get along or you won’t.” Thanks Zinsser