Monday, August 16, 2010

Do You See Me?

"Good writing is honest, alive. The more honest and alive our writing, the more we show ourselves. The more we show ourselves, the greater the danger we're in. The greater the danger we're in the more scared we are. Hence fear is a marker on the path toward good writing." 
~ Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write.

If you have a goal, a dream, something you are pegging your last (possibly unspoken) wish on then I am betting you understand FEAR. 

We writer's have so many fears we developed a lovely, not so honest term.  We call it Writer's Block. But it's not Writer's Block. It is Writer's Fear. 

I am never more scared then when I sit down to write. The thing I most love, the thing I say I could not live without, the thing I feel called to do and am most passionate about is WRITING. And... it scares me SH*#!*#less.

When I sit before a blank page, I am really sitting before myself. To write well, to be honest and raw enough to have something I know is worth sharing, I have to get to that vulnerable place inside. I have to peel back the layers of my skin and see myself for who I am. Then, after I have faced the reality of my own ugly feelings I expose my being and write from that place. The place where my best stuff comes from . The place where I am known to me and risking sharing that with you, the reader. 
Terrifying stuff.

This fear is so real that I often sit before my laptop in complete silence for long long moments. I am afraid. I am afraid I will have nothing to say. I am afraid that if I do have something to say, I won't be able to say it. 

I fear not being able to put my heart into words. I fear the words I do put not being good enough. I fear being a fraud. I fear everyone reading it and knowing that I am a fraud. Or worse, I fear everyone reading it and know that I am NOT a fraud. That they have seen the real me. I fear being seen. I fear NOT being seen. Thank god that fear overrides all others or I would be the author of nothing at all. 

I fear someone better than me, more skilled, more gifted reading me and laughing. I fear their rejection. I fear the reader's rejection. Since I put me on the page, I fear the rejection will be so personal I will not be able to take it. I fear failing. I fear succeeding. I fear the whole damn thing.

I develop Writer's Block. I can't do it. 
I am too busy. The kids are too noisy. It's too hot. It's too cold. It's too... I have other things to do after all. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a sister and a friend and, and ... I am a writer. And as a writer I eventually face my fears, rip back the layers covering my vulnerability and I write. Then damn it, I share the stuff. ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING. 
The next day I do it all again. Because that is me, and that is writing. 

I just wanted you guys to know. Since we writer's love to pretend we are all so darned brave when it comes to this writer's gig we say we couldn't live without, I thought I tell you all. I am scared.
Every. Single. Time.
I procrastinate with the best of them. I am daily afraid. 
Good things come from that people. The best stuff I write is the stuff I write afraid. 

And I am guessing that whether you write or not, whatever passions are within you, whatever cuts closest to your bone, also scares the crap out of you.
That's okay. Necessary even. It is fear that sets my work alight. It might also be fear that strikes enough fire within you to take you where you need to go. 

So go fear.  The world needs more people who show up and be who they are. You tell me that doesn't take guts. You tell me that doesn't shake a soul to it's core. Fear has held the hands of many brilliant success's. 

What about you? Afraid?


  1. Oh, just a wonderful post and so true! Yes, I am afraid and know I'm not worthy but I try anyway.

    I really don't think you have much to fear, you are a wonderful conveyor of words. :D

    Thanks for sharing your fears.
    Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  2. Thanks Jules. I think our fears often have little to do with reality. It never stops mine from being present. Thank you for your kinds words about my writing. Trust me, I am sometimes not such a good conveyor of words :) But I too am trying anyway.

  3. Thanks for putting into words what so many of us feel. The opposite of fear is faith and I have to believe that something good will make its way out of me. :O)

  4. You definitely summed up all of my fears, Tab. Right now I'm fearing not being good enough (with my second book). And I'm fearing rejection with my first book. Even though I want to approach my writing with more confidence, sometimes that fear propels me to strive harder to do even better.

  5. Tab, you're awesome. I know. I've said it before, but you are. So, now I've come up with a way of re-packaging my story, and it's giving me cold-sweats of terror, that's a good sign, right? The fact that I'm staring at my outline thinking there's no way I can be good enough to pull this off, means it'll be great then, right?

    Man, I hope so!

  6. Tabitha,
    So often it seems God has you and I on the same page where it comes to writing.

    I wrote this tonight and then read what you'd posted -

    'And strangely enough, this is where telling my story becomes hard. There’s a part of me, the part that likes to lie to myself, which says this is because this is where my story starts to be other peoples’ stories. But that isn’t true. It’s not the reason that telling my story from here is hard. It’s hard because it is from here that I have to truly admit to myself that I have to take complete responsibility for my decisions.'

    Your post has certainly been the challenge to keep at what is the hard stuff to write.


  7. Been thinking of you a lot w/ your rewrites. Empathizing. I'm showered w/ all kinds of fearful thoughts every time I sit to write. Like a dog I have to shake off the water droplets, still soaked sometimes and type away. Keep at it even as the fear remains.
    ~ Wendy

  8. To be a functional writer, that fear has to quiet enough to free us from that constant, blowing storm. Yes, there should always be an edge, but the more we put the writing out there despite the fear, the less of a grip it will have on us.

  9. Powerful, powerful, and yes, frightening words. This dug at my soul: "The world needs more people who show up and be who they are. You tell me that doesn't take guts. You tell me that doesn't shake a soul to its core. Fear has held the hands of many brilliant success's."

    Great job here Tab.

  10. Tab, this is wonderful. So perfectly accurate, so fearlessly true. Thank you for putting so much of this into words. (And for forcing me to face part of why I'm not writing right now!)

  11. I get afraid at times mostly about things I have no control over, not a pleasant feeling but none the less real.


  12. I see you.
    Big time.
    And you--and your writing--are beautiful.

    No fear here. Just the Holy Spirit, holding me tight. And whispering, Go.

  13. Great post! I feel better already. Writers need to be unrestrained. We all have something to say and live in a free country. Dig down deep into your soul and belt out whatever is in ther, be it the blues or sun shiney days and lollipops.

    Stephen Tremp

  14. You grabbed my soul with this one,Tab. Becaause yes, when we write the kinds of things you write, it takes an enormous amount of courage. But it is the only way to touch others. To share from those deep, dark places. And it is the only way to heal--to expose those dark places to the light. So, I've learned to not let the fear rule me. It's gotten quieter over the years. Also, it's strongest when we're attached to results, rather than just letting our selves out in our writing. Whatever it is you're doing, you're doing it beautifully, so just keep on keeping on...

  15. Oh, I totally agree. I'm scared to write EVERY SINGLE TIME I sit down at the computer. Sometimes I let the fear keep me from doing it, but sometimes a little bit of fear is a good motivator. I want to prove to myself that I can push past it and write something great (or at least something mediocre that I can revise until it's great.)

  16. "after I have faced the reality of my own ugly feelings I expose my being and write from that place." I know this place. But I have no fear in it other than the reflection I find. I have no ambitions to write publicly.

    But I am a "So You Think You Can Dance" addict. They said on the show last week, that to be a great dancer, you have to dance from emotion, take yourself out of the performance and let go of the steps. DO NOT compete. Dance for the pure joy and emotion of it. Perhaps it is the same with writing. In any event, you will find your way. I am sure of that!

  17. This post really resonated with me.

    "Fear the fraud."

    Yeah. I fear that every single day. Not just as a writer, but with the other titles I hold in my life.

    Thanks for putting it all into words.


  18. You nailed my fears. Especially, the fraud. I can't say how many times I've expressed that same fear. And, as of late, it's sticking in the fore-front of my mind. I have a writer's conference to attend in Oct. and I signed up for a critique class (only 10 people) I'm horrified. I'm not done with the book yet, it's my first attempt at a book, and I feel like I'm going to be wasting their time.

    It's a good thing I'm a glutton for punishment or I'd be running for the the hills, LOL.

    This was a wonderful post, you spoke of all our fears.

  19. Oh my gosh - I love this post. It's so true and honest. I'm terrified too.

  20. It is scary at times. I can only imagine it is so much more especially for you because you have everything hanging out there in your memoir. It's a vulnerable position to be in but it's better to have risked than not at al, right?

  21. Tabitha, check out my blog, because you just won an award there. Thank you and write on! :D

  22. Fear certainly is one part of my holding back when I do. With fear comes caution and with caution comes hesitation. Sometimes if we don't take a leap, we miss an opportunity. Your post illuminates that dark corner of fear that keeps us from stepping out into the light of getting things done.

    Tossing It Out

  23. Um, yes, you pretty much summed up my feelings perfectly. It's why I procrastinate so much at times. Hubby asks, "Why aren't you writing when you love to write?" And I say, "It' so hard to start." When what I really mean is that starting scares me....writing scares me. But yet, I love it. What a weird thing.

  24. Glad I am not the only one doing it afraid :) thanks for the comments everyone.

  25. Tabitha, you have summed up most of my fears. I fear not being good enough, being rejected by my readers. Thanks for this wonderful post!

  26. I saw a trailer for the movie version of "Fame." This man was saying to his students that the thing they question about themselves, the thing that they hide from others and hope that nobody sees, that is the thing that is your greatest strength and can make you great.

    Of course, I think you're great anyway. So there. ;-)

  27. Now you are making me think :)) A nice read

  28. Oh how I feel your words! I do so appreciate the conviction that you have purged within my soul, thank you!

  29. Yes. I'm afraid.

    I'm afraid that when I sit down to write the same person is in me. When I write the murderer, that's me (not literally, but it's feelings that lie in all of us), when I write the sad single mother at the end of her rope, that was me. When I write about the angry madman looming around the corner... that's me too.

    We write real feelings and in order to get there, we have to....go there.

    It's hard and scary, that's for sure, but I know that God has a plan for these stories. THey'll touch someone. In God's time.

  30. Great post, awesome words. Love that picture. Goes so well. Fear certainly can be a bondage holder. Thank you for sharing dear. Blessings.

  31. Constantly afraid. This might be your best post ever, Tab - and you've written some doozies. I'm really grateful you don't let the fear win, because if it did win, the rest of us would lose the gift of your powerful, true and spot-on writing.

  32. Me too. I'm afraid I won't be strong enough to survive more rejection. I'm afraid I'll get a big head and think my books are better than they are. I'm afraid I'll get cocky once I am published and just crank out junk.

  33. Yep, I'm very afraid at the moment. I've been working through writer's block - erm...writer's FEAR - for the last couple of weeks now. I just have to plough on.

  34. Hello Tabitha, Thank You for visiting my blog. Fear is such a Huge factor...but i remember : "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; the weak things of the world to shame the strong." 1st Cor 1:27 Can't get more foolish or weak feeling than i have... so we must throw these things at the feet of God and let Him sort it all out. Thank You for sharing the battle with us. Thanks for your warm welcome, it means so much! *kare