Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Writers, Take Off Your Mask by Marie Wells Coutu

Due to the pandemic, many of us are wearing masks these days when we must go out in public. Others resist the idea of mandatory mask-wearing or are simply unable to cover their face due to conditions other than COVID-19 that make mask-wearing unpleasant or even dangerous.

But I’m not about to get political here or to criticize those who do or those who don’t.

I’m talking about a different type of mask—the kind that we put on to keep others at a distance. Not “social distancing” or physical distancing, but emotional distancing. To prevent people from actually knowing us, our fears, our weaknesses, our insecurities.

I saw this humorous face mask: Beneath a handlebar mustache were the words, “If you can read this, I mustache you to step back.”

Many people could relate to this sentiment even before the pandemic. At times, we simply don’t want others to get too close. We are unwilling to be vulnerable, to reveal our true selves.

To write fiction—or nonfiction—that connects with readers, the mask must come off. It’s easier with fiction, since we can deal with our own issues through our characters, especially since no one needs to know they’re based on real life.

Someone once said, “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.”*

It means if we remove our “masks,” we can deal with our own issues through our characters. In other words, as we “bleed on the page,” we face our own struggles, too.

For example, if you feel guilty, then find forgiveness writing a character’s journey out of her guilt.

Struggling with anger? Help your character learn how to manage his anger, and you may learn new ways to manage your own.

Facing a desperate situation? Write until your character overcomes those seemingly impossible obstacles and discovers hope. You may even find a little of that hope along the way.

So take off your mask and inspire your readers to live an authentic life.

When we remove the mask, open our heart, and bleed onto the page, our stories become real @mwcoutu @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #masks #authenticity

Once we writers remove our “masks,” we can deal with our own issues through our stories. @mwcoutu @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #authenticity #writermasks

*Quote Investigator

Marie Wells Coutu finds beauty in surprising places, like old houses, gnarly trees, and forgotten treasures. When she’s not writing about finding restoration and healing through God-designed journeys, she enjoys taking broken things and making them useful.

She is currently working on historical romance novels set in the 1930s. One manuscript won the 2019 Touched by Love Contest and the 2019 Sheila Contest, and a second novel also won in the Sheila Contest. Her published novels are women’s contemporary fiction. Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. The Secret Heart, her newest release, and Thirsting for More, the second book in the series, were finalists in several contests.

You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook Author page