Sunday, August 31, 2008

The dark heart of writing

In my previous entry I wondered what writing meant to others and Erica responded with a wonderful, candid comment, touching on issues like refusing to dumb down for others and standing up to be heard.

She also exposed the dark heart of writing:

Fear.

There’s a lot of fear involved in writing. Fear of not being good enough, not finishing, not being able to capture and do justice to the images dancing in your head. Fear of failure. Sometimes, fear of success.

Yes, you need to shake off that fear if you want to write, but it isn’t always that simple. Fear is elusive and persistent, a master at masquerading as something else. Something else that seems a legitimate reason for not writing. Family. Work. Fatigue. Waiting for the stars to be in alignment.

I think many of us who write struggle beneath some burden of fear; it’s just some days we cope better with it than others.

4 comments:

Erica said...

See, I did a Good Thing ;)

Self-doubt is an elusive monster, it's true. But uglier is the beast that hides in plain sight: fear of others. Masquerading as The Market or What's Hot Right Now or The Right Way To Do Things.

"My idea for a zombie romance/erotic mermaid story/gay fairy adventure/{insert wild and exciting idea here} will never sell, so there's no point in writing it."

Translated: I'm too scared of what people might think to give it a try.

Yeah. I mean, who wants to read about some kid at wizard school, anyway ;)

Kirsty C said...

I can't imagine writing to cater to The Market, because it's always changing and I just can't write quick enough.

I'm plugging on writing what I write, waiting for the trends to come around again (as they always do). At least that way, when what I write is back in favour again, I will have a nice backlist ready to be read or published.

Fear is a biggie. Like Stephen King said, it's hard to be honest when you write, because we are afraid what our mothers/priests/grandchildren might think. One day I am going to write a brutally honest book (not yet, still working my way up to it) and SOOOOO many people are not going to speak to me ever again!

AJ Macpherson said...

Erica you definitely did a Good Thing, and thanks for doing it again :-)

AJ Macpherson said...

Hi Kirsty, thanks for coming back.

Another aspect of writer's fear... hmm, that's got me thinking again.