Tips on Writing with Vulnerability

Writing with vulnerability is not an easy task for many. It is common to feel that allowing yourself to be vulnerable opens the doorway to possibly being hurt in some way, shape or form. What if we also looked at being vulnerable as an opportunity for growth within ourselves as well as others.

If you want your stories to be powerful you have to be willing to be vulnerable.

Below are tips and insights from various Project Wednesday writing contributors on how to write with vulnerability.

Scare Yourself, Share Yourself – Rachel Olszewski
“When I first started writing, I felt naked. Completely and utterly nude. And it scared me shitless. What ended up helping me push through the vulnerability that I felt was sharing my work. I let my significant other, my best friends, and my grandma read my very first piece. These are people that I trust with my whole being and I knew they would be supportive. And they exceeded my expectations of support with their feedback. Receiving feedback, positive or negative, has been the driver behind me continuing to move forward with the openness in my writing. If I can touch even one person with my writing, force them to think, get them angry, cause them to cry, or help them to laugh; I can continue to be vulnerable. I can continue to share my stories and hopefully, help someone else to share theirs.”

Never Apologize – Holly Pilcavage
“Every time I hit send or publish I hold my breath. I once read somewhere that when you share pieces of yourself – I mean, really, deeply, openly share something about yourself – it shouldn’t feel or be easy. It should scare you. It should scare you because deep down you know it’s important. No one should have to feel sorry for their emotions. No one should have to apologize for feeling anything at all. When I write I try to keep that in mind. This is my story – no one else’s. Remember: No one can tell your story better than you. I put myself out there with the hope that at least one other person can connect with a piece of my own story in some way that might help them out or help them to see something in a new light.”

Write and Re-write; Both are Important – Melissa Rafalko
“Every time I write a post or article, I have to go back and delete the negative talk and self doubt that automatically comes out of my finger tips. I am not sure why, but every single time I write, I am subconsciously protective of myself. When I go back through and rewrite all of my words without the doubt, I end up with a statement full of confidence and personality. It is the real me shining through. Even then, I have to remind myself that it is okay to be proud of my accomplishments and who I have become. There is nothing wrong with expressing yourself and radiating positivity that others can experience through your stories.”

Be your Authentic Self – Kelly Douglas
“Allow your readers to see your authentic self. Vulnerable writing should always be a honest reflection of your worldview and every moment that has shaped it, so you must truthfully, sincerely reveal your innermost thoughts, your deepest feelings, your challenges, and your triumphs. Lure readers into your world by using vivid imagery to create a multi-sensory experience — candidly exploring the sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, and emotions surrounding both your proudest moments and your most difficult. The pieces of your story that seem the most unfiltered, raw, and real, though they are often the most difficult to address, will be the most compelling to those who read your work. Your readers will be able to relate to the trials and tribulations you have faced and identify with your thoughts and emotions, but your vulnerability will transcend relatability, compelling readers to use your words to ignite personal growth and become agents of change.”

Write with a Sense of Abandon – Anthony Melf
“When confronted with writing honestly, it’s important to pen your words with a sense of abandon. No word should be off limits, no thought should go unprocessed. You can always edit later. But first, you must clear your mind and abandon your readers and editor. Let the words flow without pretense as you get in touch with your internal dialogue that makes your writing raw and vulnerable. The vulnerability is what could make your piece relatable to your readers. They may have had similar thoughts not often voiced in open discussion. Find those honest moments. Forget initially about the intended purpose of your piece so that you may discover what it is you believe and perhaps experienced in relation to your chosen topic. Use the page as an uncharted map where you fill in the lines with dead ends and rich discoveries. It helps to engage yourself and challenge your own ideas to understand the content better. After finding truth in your work and on the page, you can clean it up with proofreading and editing to best communicate your message to your audience.”

Are you ready to share your story? Join the Project Wednesday Writing Team.

Holly Pilcavage

Born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Holly K. Pilcavage, or simply hkp, is the founder of Project Wednesday and is also currently the Director of Business Development & Operations at CoalCreative, an Internet Marketing Company in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Holly was named a 2017 Top 20 Under 40 by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Business Journal, is a recent graduate of the 2018 Leadership Wilkes-Barre Core Class, as well as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Nominee and TEDx alum. She serves on the Board of Directors for Dress for Success of Luzerne County and attributes her additional time as a servant leader for various organizations throughout Luzerne County. Her truest passion is people. With a background in Business Development, Higher Education, and Life Coaching, Holly focuses her energy on the impact we are all making on one another and the inevitable ripple effect it causes throughout the world. She is currently on a mission to see all 50 states before the exciting age of 30 which means Holly travels as much as possible while taking the time to learn more about people and how we all fit together as individual puzzle pieces.

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