Writers! Break The Rules—Get Naked

by Randy Murray on September 24, 2013

For some reason that I cannot remember, back when I was a Boy Scout we loved to sing the song “Pink Pajamas” at the top of our lungs. Try it yourself—it’s sung to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic:

I wear my pink pajamas, in the summer when it’s hot.
I wear my flannel undies in the winter when it’s not.
And sometimes in the springtime and sometimes in the fall,
I jump right in between the sheets with nothing on at all.

Glory, glory, Hallelujah;
Glory, glory, What’s it to you?
Balmy breezes blowing through ya,
With nothing on at all.

It  seemed scandalous and hilarious to us at the time.

To many, being naked is equivalent to being vulnerable, exposed, AND rebellious at the same time. To others it’s empowering. Some talk about physical or emotional nakedness. It’s all the same. How you view your own nudity is exactly that: how you see yourself, not how others do.

And given the current state of our airport security theater, we’ll all be stripping down to our birthday suits soon just to ride in a plane. Ye gods.

As a writer I battle with my own image, my button-down business self and the emotional being underneath. I put on all kinds of emotional and intellectual clothing to write for others. But when I write for myself, when I turn to a creative blank page, it’s time to get naked.

It’s hard. It is very, very difficult to strip all of that away and speak clearly and honestly without any protective covering. But that’s what’s necessary. That’s what the job calls for.

My process in getting naked for writing is to start the way an undecided nudist might: try it out around the house. For me, that means being completely naked in my personal journals. I sometimes find it difficult and embarrassing to read what I’ve written in them, but I know that was me trying to find my voice and get as naked as I could stand to be. The journal is the place for telling the truth, saying the things we cannot say, and pouring out our hearts to see if those things inside us are really what we feel and want to say to others.

As a playwright this degree of emotional nudity is critical. It’s how I know when the words that I put into a character’s mouth are true. It’s how I convey emotion and core character. I can’t do that unless I know these things in myself. And that means that I as a writer have to have a place where I can get naked.

Bloggers and freelancers are often accused of working without pants. Maybe it’s time to go for it, to get a little naked, and to see what happens.

Or keep your pants on and get naked in your writing. That may be all the more revealing.

The Writers! Break The Rules—Get Naked by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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