Feel the Heat (Sonya Weiss)

One definition of heat is “intensity of feeling” and it’s synonymous with “passion, vehemence, warmth, fervor.”

But we often shy away from using heat in an emotional context because in the heat of passion, in the heat of vehemence, there lies the truth. And the truth can be costly. To us. To others.

As an author, it can be hard to write the heat emotionally. We tone it down. We don’t want the judgment. The snarky remarks. We want to fit in. Be accepted. Loved. We want the approval of friends, peers and family. So we write inside the lines.

We water down our blogs, our short stories, our books, because we don’t want anyone to see the skeletons in our characters’ closets and mentally connect them to us.

We don’t want people to see the hurt, the damage. We don’t want others to know the price we’ve paid or the scars we’ve collected as we’ve traveled through life. So sometimes, we tell our stories, and we really do want to write outside the lines but we don’t. Because like the raging wildfire that it’s associated with, the heat of truth can be frightening.

We fight to stay within the lines even as bits of heat, that emotionally hot center deep within us, breaks from the inner space called THIS IS MY HURT and like a chained up monster with its first taste of freedom runs amok in our written word.

For writers and non-writers alike, you may be someone who stays inside the line, who avoids the heat emotionally because it’s not comfortable. It makes your hands shake just to think about the words all running together inside of you that you never speak.

You don’t want to tell your story because maybe someone told you not to. Maybe someone didn’t believe you or believe in you. Maybe you don’t tell your story because then you might have to face the pain, the loneliness, the isolation, the fear, and the wounds.

You’re afraid that if you do let the heat free that you might fall apart and the pieces you’ve been holding together for so long might scatter and then you’ll never find them again.

But tell your story whatever it is. Write the truth. Feel the heat. Step outside the lines because you deserve to be heard. Your story deserves to be told with everything that makes you who you are.


  1. Great post Sonya, and so true. That emotional heat makes the best reading, but I find my inner critic and fear of judgment is always trying to hold me back.

    1. It happens to so many of us. The inner critic and that fear gets a chokehold on our voice. There are four books that deal with that chokehold that I reread time and again. They are: The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Finding Your Writer's Voice by Thaisa Frank & Dorothy Wall.

  2. I actually think self-censorship is one of the more important topics writers face. I'm so glad you tackled it--and welcome to YAOTL!


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