“Screw the fear.” — Jo Leigh
Be it anxiety over acceptance, concerns about misrepresentation, or indecisiveness on whether to delete or send out your latest labor of love and pain, fear has a nasty way of creeping into the writing process, and if you can use it to your advantage by allowing it to heighten your awareness and commit to the page the precise thoughts and ideas that need to be expressed, so much the better. It’s when fear snaps shut like a bear trap on your mind and prohibits you from pushing the pen on paper that’s the problem.
I would tell you to forget the fear, but we both know sometimes that just isn’t an actionable solution. The best I can manage is to share with you what works for me: I simply acknowledge it. I tip my hat to fear, slog through the uncertainty and self-doubt that it carries in abundance, and I write. To myself. For myself. I write without thought of sharing it with anyone, without the intention of submitting it for publication. Since the act I engage in is so personal and integral to my understanding the world around me, I refuse to let fear have any say in what or how I write. I write what I feel must be written. No one else has to agree. Because if I don’t write my mind, my view of the world perishes when I no longer exist.
It’s my marker. My proof I was here.
But, should you choose not to heed me advice, perhaps you’ll listen to those talented few, listed below, who are graced with a turn of phrase that far surpasses my own.
Sally forth and be fear ignoringly writeful.
— Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys
1. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou
2. “Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” ― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
3. “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” ― Saul Bellow
4. “Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.” ― Neil Gaiman
5. “A word after a word after a word is power.” — Margaret Atwood
6. “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” ― Louis L’Amour
7. “Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.” — Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
8. “One of the few things I know about writing is this: Spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book, give it, give it all, give it now.” — Annie Dillard
9. “The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.” — Anaïs Nin
10. “The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” — Stephen King, On Writing
Wonderful article. Especially loved all the quotes you splashed about! Even the great ones had to battle their way through their fear. 🙂
That’s the one admirable quality that fear possesses. It doesn’t play favorites.
Solid advice? Pshaw! The very idea!
Great post. I often think it is fear that prevents would-be writers from becoming actual writers!
It’s like Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull) said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
take the first step – free the first word