I’m gearing up for Halloween, so blood is on my mind. (Nothing new there.) As a result, this quote from Hemingway seems fairly appropriate.

Really, writing is just that simple. The hard part is sitting down in that damn chair and doing it. Every bit as hard as it would be if I told you to sit still and bleed. Our natural impulse is to cover a cut, stop the flow of blood and keep as much of that warm, life-giving fluid inside our skin as possible.

Similarly, I have to fight against my natural impulse to protect my own psyche in order to be able to write. Good writing very nearly embarrasses the writer. However, your ego will conspire against you here. When you try to lay it all on the line and write from your soul, from that vulnerable, raw, painfully real part of you that you typically hide away and share with almost no one, your ego will launch into an assault of logic and persuasion that would have made Matthew Brady and Henry Drummond proud.

“Don’t say that,” your ego will demand. “People are going to wonder what kind of nut you are if you say that. For God’s sake, lighten up a bit. Make it a little more normal. A little less welcome-to-the-freak-show-of-my-mind. Do you want people to think you’re a lunatic?”

My mind doesn’t want to include all the delicate details that make fiction real and powerful because, well, those details say something about me. Don’t they?

To a degree, yes, though not as much as you might fear. Still, it’s hard to write the kinds of things that may embarrass you. I know, for example, that my mother-in-law reads this blog. My conservative mother-in-law. My non-horror fan mother-in-law. My mother-in-law whom I respect and don’t want to offend. But, in spite of that, I choose to let ‘er rip when it comes to my fiction. Language, dark themes, sick plot twists and characters with odd, even diagnosable quirks are common here.

What-the-fuck-else can I do?

Bleed out your stories. Do the hard work of sitting down at the computer (or typewriter or table or whatever) and pound out the words. And make them real, raw words. Words that nearly embarrass you. Don’t allow fear of exposing yourself allow the words to coagulate before they reach the page, gelling into something cleaner. Something less risky.


That’s all there is to writing.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

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