If you came to this blog hoping for encouragement to remove fear from your writing process, I am sorry to disappoint you because I don’t even know what that looks like. I mean, I could write an article inspiring you to be a fearless writer but then, I would be a hypocrite.
I have never (nor will I ever) be a fearless writer. Nearly every pitch I have sent and every article, essay, poem, and blog post I have published has been riddled with fear–the fear of being misunderstood, the fear of ridicule, the fear of rejection…the list goes on. In my writing journey, I have found that a lot of the things I want to write about are either things people would rather not touch or things people have already discussed. But no matter what the subject matter is that I want to tackle, I firmly believe that there is a room for me in the world of writing. However, as long as my work has easy access to the public, I run the risk of having people read my work and believe otherwise. That is a fear that lingers in my mind with every hit of the publish button and with every email sent to pitch publishing companies, both online and in print. And I am quite sure that I am not alone in feeling this way.
As a writer and writing coach, I work with other writers who are known to be creative. And when we think of their creativity, it is often viewed from a positive lens. Creativity is pretty. It is the ability to turn a snapshot of a warm summer’s day into words in which the reader cannot help but feel the summer heat. Creativity is impressive. It is the ooo’s and ahh’s at a writer’s turn of phrase or their use of clever wordplay. Creativity often attracts admiration. And it is a trait that we are often encouraged to have.
But creativity has been married to fear since the beginning of time and they do not plan on divorcing anytime soon. Their fingers stay interlaced together, walking in hand in hand for as long as both of them will live. They are inseparable, so when I hear people discuss removing fear from the art of writing, I stay perplexed. When I see promises of being a fearless writer once I am done reading an inspiring article about writing, I stay skeptical. How can you promise fearlessness in a process that basically requires you to swim in fear?
I will not tell you to be a fearless writer because I do not believe in giving you false promises. I will not tell you to be fearless writer because fear is an inevitable part of the creative process. And because of this, fear is no stranger to me. Perhaps one of the keys to growing as a writer is becoming familiar with fear, not avoiding it.
I find that if I care deeply about something I am writing about, I am often afraid of writing it for the public to see. And if caring deeply about my work is something I will never compromise, that means fear is never going away. I know that as a writer, you probably feel the same way. But this is not a bad thing. It just means that instead of fear being absent from your creative process, you have the opportunity to face it. You have the opportunity to acknowledge it presence when it creeps into your heart and mind, but you will write anyway. You will look at your fear square in the face and write regardless because your voice is just that valuable. The pain of bearing your untold stories and your untold truths cannot last forever. You are deserving of relief. And if you find that fear is a debilitating part of your writing process, I encourage you to take comfort in the following words:
I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain. -Frank Herbert
Only you will remain because fear will not devour you. But I know the act of writing in spite of fear can be easier said than done, so I hope that come Wednesday, you will return for some practical tips that will help you write despite the fear that you may experience. Until then, take care, dear writer. Your voice is needed. Your message deserves to be heard. And your stories are worth being told.