April 09, 2014

Writing In The Nude - Shirley S. Tye

When I began writing several years ago, I gave no thought about how my writing might affect a reader. I wrote for the sheer enjoyment of playing with words; hoping to project the vivid moving pictures in my mind onto paper. I sought entertainment; for me and for readers. But more than anything else, I wanted to see my name in print.

When I finally did see my name in print, it was a mixed feeling of pride and embarrassment. I was proud that my work was viewed by someone to be worthy enough to be published and yet I was also embarrassed that the “whole world” could see my thoughts, and I worried that others would laugh at me and criticize me. But of course, the “whole world” didn’t read my writing; I’m far from being a world renowned writer. And no one laughed at me or criticized me, at least, not to my face. And now it’s no longer important to see my name in print.

Writing is a strange business. No matter what I write, whether it’s an article, a piece of humour, a devotional, I feel I’m exposing myself; sharing more than just secrets with strangers. I’m not comfortable doing that. Yes, I realize I lack confidence. And I prefer to keep my life private. Yet I go on writing. Why? Just for the fun of it I suppose; the fun of hearing or seeing a reader’s reaction. If I’m attempting to stir anger or disappointment with a character, did the reader or audience show that reaction? Did they laugh when I wrote something funny? It’s much the same as when I’m performing in a comedy play. It’s great fun pretending to be someone else and to hear the audience laugh. It confirms that I’ve said my lines correctly and on cue, projected my voice, and that I’ve brought the character to life. What fun!

Later, my purpose for writing changed. I began writing to inform, to encourage, and to provide a little relief, at least momentarily, from the stresses and worries of life. Perhaps some of my writing has met this mandate.

Well, again I feel I’ve exposed myself; been writing in the nude. Oh, I’ll get over it – in a week or two.


  1. I absolutely love the title...and yes, I chuckled at the title before I even began reading your story. I enjoyed reading the many reasons why you write and I can attest to some of those myself. I was thrilled to see my name in print and yet I wondered who was going to be reading my work. Keep on writing, Shirley!

  2. LOL! Your title is a perfect example to all writers of how to catch a readers attention and draw them in.

    Your description of the ambivalence related to writing is well put. You have clarified what I always feel, but have never put into words. Now I have some sentences to understand the awkward position between wanting to share with the world, and being embarrassed when I have.

    I'm guessing this is the conundrum of many writers!

    Great post, Shirley!

  3. This title certainly grabbed my attention! I know exactly what you mean. I felt the same way (and still do!)

  4. Ha ha, so well said, Shirley! I loved seeing the progression of your writing life throughout this blog, and how you grew in your writing approach. I appreciate your bare honesty too! It helps the rest of us, ahem, undress when we write, which does need to happen at times!

    Pam Mytroen

  5. Love the word picture, Shirley. Yes, I get those "exposed" feelings too, especially when my family reads some of my stuff...and sometimes they don't get it at all. May God continue to give you strength and confidence to write naked.

  6. What a great title. Like you, I sometimes feel uncertain about exposing so much of myself in my writing. Yet I continue.
    Writing naked is something every writer should strive to do.

  7. It's true! We do expose ourselves! But I always resonate with a writer who does so, because they help express what is in my own head and hasn't yet gelled into cohesive thought. And the writers who don't expose their innards leave us flat and cold, just like, to use your metaphor, an actor who simply rattles off her lines self-consciously. That kind make us all embarrassed and nervous for them, but we don't connect with them. Thanks for this!

  8. Shirley,

    You've put your finger on it perfectly.

    It's like finding yourself at a wedding ready to play the wedding music, only to find you're only dressed in your slip and the dress no where to be found.

    It certain needs His grace and courage to share those experiences with others. My inner life journey has always felt too sacred to bring out into the sunshine. But people have need for the revelations and insights He's given us to help them on their way too.

    Clothed in His grace and love, perhaps we're not as naked as we first feel ... I will have to ponder that further.

    Thanks so much Shirley for reminding us we're not alone in these feelings.



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