Writing Your Truth, Even if it Hurts

By Natasha Ngan

Posted on November 6, 2018 in Books, Fantasy, Young Adult with tags

Natasha Ngan, author of Girls of Paper and Fire, talks about the power of words and how writing helped her release unspoken and repressed truths.


Credit Cal MacBethWriting Your Truth, Even if it Hurts

Words, we know by now, are powerful.

They have the ability to break hearts and destroy whole worlds in the blink of an eye. They can worm their way into your very core and stay buried there forever. They can heal and soften and tarnish and hurt, and the best ones can open eyes and light fires in bellies and bring out strength from within us that we never even knew was there.

Words are powerful, but not just those we speak. The ones we think, the unsaid words that hide on our tongues and curl into dark corners of our minds to slowly seep their poison –those words are some of the most powerful that exist, because they hold power over us. We keep them captive, because the truth of them scares us, and in doing so we trap ourselves.

Writing for me has always been a way to release these unspoken or repressed truths. Perhaps that’s why I often find it so draining a process. It’s no small thing to force open the darkest parts of you and stand face to face with what lurks there. But I find it is the stories that you can feel came from an intensely personal place within their authors that resonate the most with readers. When you come across passages that ring so true that it feels as though, as Alan Bennett so beautiful put in The History Boys, ‘a hand has come out and taken yours’ … those are the moments that make reading – and writing – so magical.

And as difficult as it is at the time, once you’ve written your truths onto the page, perhaps you’ll notice your own heart beating a little lighter. And perhaps you’ll feel that power that the words had over you start to shift and transform. Because often when we hold truth in, we give it power over us. But when we let it go, we release that power into the world, and away from its dark, cramped confines it has space to grow and brighten and transform itself from a force of destruction to one of healing.

It becomes a hand, reaching out to others. Showing them that they’re not alone.

And what a beautiful power that is.

Girls of Paper and Fire is out now!


Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published.