Writing holds the potential to provoke a considerable amount of fear. We worry if we can turn into completed prose the vague thoughts in our heads. We’re anxious about what our readers will think of what we’ve written. We’re afraid we’ll never be able to produce our blog posts or books on time.
I have these fears at times; most writers do. But I recently ran across these words of wisdom from the prominent British novelist Philip Pullman:
“The mind has plenty of ways of preventing you from writing, and paralyzing self-consciousness is a good one. The only thing to do is ignore it, and remember what Vincent van Gogh said in one of his letters about the painter’s fear of the blank canvas — the canvas, he said, is far more afraid of the painter.”
The very idea made me laugh out loud. What if instead of being fearful about your writing, you could become fearsome?
Picture yourself typing boldly. “Take that, keyboard,” you could proclaim, adding your most villainous laugh. Or, stab your notebook with the pen. Dot those “i”s and cross those “t”s with a forceful flourish.
Or, imagine talking back to your future readers. You could say, “Well, regardless of what you think, this is what I think.” Or tell your inner critic, “That may be your opinion, but so what? I’m publishing this anyway.”
You could even take charge of the clock or calendar. “You don’t own me,” you could assert. “I can make time to write whenever I want. This piece will be finished when I say it will.”
Don’t let fear stop you from writing or publishing, or even slow you down. You have the power to write and publish what you please, when you please.
Be fierce about your writing. You may not be a fearless writer, and that’s okay — few of us are. But you can still become a fearsome writer. Anyone can.