From the time we are born we are told to do our best even if we’re born into terrible circumstances our societies say, do your best. However their is a real genuine fear of failure and, more than that, a fear that what we write may be mocked. Those are two different things. We can think of one or two successful loved books that are mocked. Success is scary and writing adds an overwhelming amount of vulnerability. Whether your characters have nothing to do with you and they live on worlds that orbit stars beyond our comprehension you expose yourself by creating those things. You’ve spent so much of your life hearing you have to do your best. For younger writers we often hear that we have to do our best, and when we say its too much pressure we get called whiny. Either way we learn to fear failure.
When you were a child did you fear coloring outside the lines? Did you fear the way the pens and crayons seemed to defy your hand? Sometimes perhaps, but more often than not you enjoyed freedom to create. Somewhere a lot of people lose that to fear.
I found my own cure for fear. I know this will sound simple and crappy. I know its cliche. However once you actually believe this you see that this attitude is marvelous. It can’t conquer every fear, but it is a start. It can get you to pick up a pen. Here it comes:
If you never put a word to paper you will never create what you want. You will have already failed. If you create something then you never fail. It may not be what you wanted, or intended. It may be bad. It may be excellent. How will you know? You can’t until you begin. You can take your time. You can stretch out a project in fear. Lord knows I do. However so long as you try you are pushing yourself to the next level. Some days I can’t write a paragraph. So then I write words by hand. Fun fact writing by hand stimulates your brain more than typing in a different way(I’ll do an article on this soon), so by engaging with words in a different way I can begin to provoke thought. Written. Typed. Just quick words that pass through my mind. Sometimes they become simple poems because when you stop saying “I can’t write” or “I am afraid” and just write without pretense things get interesting. It feels like, and this is vulgar but true, like you’re brain was constipated, but now its relaxed and passed a little something even if it isn’t what it really needs to. That a bit freeing. That is a good start.
Our fears are natural, learned, and many. All we can do is our best at addressing them…sometimes it just means ignoring them as best we can.
I know you are a good writer. I know you can write. You aren’t a failure. You have plenty of reasons to be afraid and yet those reasons don’t outweigh the thousands of reasons you should be brave. Be brave. I hope I helped you a little. I hope maybe you will think about my words and not just assume they’re crappy nonsense. I truly mean every word. I hope that comes through. You deserve to be brave and move through fear. And…you can despite how it feels.