Musings · Writing

Writer Fears

I’ve realized posts like yesterday’s probably belong more in The Writers of Ingleside, since it is more about daily life than writing – though you all know I like to talk about my life here too. But I’m going to try to keep this month’s posts a little more focused on my feelings as I go through this writing journey unless I have something I especially want to say.

A friend gave me Andi Cumbo-Floyd’s book Love Letters to Writers. I started it a bit ago, and am going through it pretty slowly. That isn’t for the normal reasons though – part of me wants to gulp it all down immediately, but the problem is, after every single “letter”, I feel so contemplative and inspired all at once, it is hard to make myself continue without allowing myself to digest what she has said. Just today, while eating lunch outside, I read one letter and immediately wanted to set the book down so I could think through it, but, determined not to go so slowly, I read the next letter, and then I really could’t go any further because my heart and head couldn’t take any more inspiration and wisdom just then!

Chapter 11 talked about fear in writing. And, she said, “I long ago learned that there is nothing I can do to coax other people out from their hiding from writing in general or from public writing in specific. Sometimes, it’s hard enough to get myself to do it.”

That used to be me. Not so long ago. If you’ve been following me long at all, you know that. And it still IS me to an extent, but a few years ago, I forced myself to begin fighting that fear – both that fear and the “excuses” syndrome addressed in Chapter 12. Both by writing even when I didn’t feel like it, and by forcing myself to mention my writing to other people, even though it literally made me nauseous to do so. And, as I’ve forced myself forward more and more, it’s become easier. Now, even though I still have bouts of avoiding writing, I know I can do it even if I don’t “feel it” – and now I only shift uncomfortably when talking about my writing instead of feeling sick. It’s slowly coming around.

So, why did this hit me so hard? Yes, partially because it used to be me, but also because, now that I have my ever increasing courage when it comes to writing, I want to help other writers, and even artists (I know a lot of those too!) feel the same! When other writers talk about their fears, I want to, as she said “coax” them out of it – but she’s right. Just as it took me years to be willing to even face my fears and excuses, it will take other writers and artists their own times, their own “doorways” to be willing to step out and explore. All I can do is be there to cheer them on.

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