WRITING THROUGH THE FEAR by Bernadette Walsh
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to attend more Long Island Romance Writers meetings. This group is such a wonderful resource, one which I have not taken full advantage of since its meeting are on Saturdays and my Saturdays are usually spoken for. You know, laundry, food shopping. But I finally made the meeting.
Lisa Stone Hardt, a freelance editor and author coach, was our guest speaker and one question she asked was: What are your writing fears? The fifteen writers around the table, who ranged from multi-published authors and RITA winners to newbies working on their first chapters, each expressed quite eloquently what their fears were. Fear of failure, of not being good enough, of criticism.
I, of course, expressed no such fear. No, I did what I always do. I made a joke. But if I had been as brave as my chapter mates and had answered the question honestly, here’s what I would have said: I am afraid of exposing too much of myself in my writing. But here’s the funny thing, my books and my heroines are chock full of my worst traits. My heroines are weak at times, selfish, angry at their husbands, brittle, impatient. They are hard-hearted, lusty, cold. They are in so many ways a mirror.
But every writer exposes themselves in their writing, in one way or another. So I’ve had to fight my natural inclination to smooth things over, to make a joke when things get too uncomfortable and, in my writing life at least, I’ve had to be honest, be real. Take a good look at the underbelly of my own psyche and put it out there for all to see.
And that is hard. But for me necessary if I want to create real believable characters and stories. So I’ve faced my fears because the joy of writing, of creating, is worth it. Maybe the price of admission of joining the writing club is to write through the fear. Throw down words on a page even if it means that people will criticize you. Even if it means exposing those not-so-nice parts of yourself that you would prefer to keep hidden. Even if it’s uncomfortable.
Write through the fear because at the end of the day it is worth it.