"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.
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?