Putting in the ugly stuff
Does this F Minus comic make you cringe? Do you worry about your editor or your readers thinking less of you because of the mistakes you've made in your life? Are you tempted to "sanitize" your life story by telling only the good parts?
Don't give in to the urge to make yourself look perfect in your writing!
Everyone who reads your life story will know that you aren't perfect. After all, none of us are. Your sanitized version will, quite frankly, be boring. What makes a story compelling is reading about the difficulties encountered and how they affected your life. It's the "How I Got Over" that moves people.
Share your triumphs over difficulties -- and yes, your failures, too. They let your readers see you as human. They let them care about you. They let you become real in their minds.
And the ugly stuff helps your reader to believe you. If you're honest, they can trust you.
That doesn't mean you have to wallow in it or share every nasty, gory detail. Even the most difficult ugly stories can be told in a way that shows the difficulty with grace and compassion. That's where your editor comes in. A good editor will help you judge how to tell the ugly stuff without making it seem that your whole life has been gross.
I'd like to be that editor for you. And if you haven't been able to get past the ugliness, I'd like to share with you about someone who can help.
I know. I've had some really nasty, ugly stuff in my past, too.
"Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, NLT)