Overcome Fear, Complete the Circle

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”  

—  H.P. Lovecraft

There are some writers who cannot wait to get their words down on paper and who nearly stumble over themselves with eagerness to share those creations with the world. Then there are people who believe they have something to say and would like to write a story or a poem, but who cannot overcome the fear of  what happens next: sharing that work with others.

One of the most common excuses I hear from those who want to write but haven’t is fear — fear that their work isn’t good enough, fear that critics will rip them to shreds, or fear of certain people peering into the privacy of their mind and soul. The fears of an uncertain future and of rejection are universal, yet these are the very first things you must cast out if you expect to become a writer.

Sure, you are going to be rejected — a lot. But you will also eventually find someone who loves your work and who, if you are lucky, will be changed forever because of what you wrote; but you will never know it hiding behind the window shades of your creative mind — keeping all of those poems and fictions and unique opinions to yourself.

A writer is very much like a chef in the sense that the act of writing a book is like preparing a complex, rich and delicious meal complete with sides, sauces, spices and aromas. Writing a story and then leaving it in a drawer or refusing to let anyone read it is akin to a chef placing that cooked meal in the cupboard and closing the door forever. Yes, there is incredible pleasure in the creation process; but if you do not complete the circle and share your creation — despite the fear that someone somewhere might not like it or might tease you — your work will be for naught.

Watching the eyes of your reader light up as they take in your tale , receiving emails from people who have read your book, and knowing that your words have transformed someone for the better are some of the finest pleasures in life. When you’ve successfully transferred an idea, a thought or an image, you’ve performed magic! And you’ve completed the creative circle.

It may take some time to get it right. You may stumble through your awkward prose at first; but if you remain dogged, you will slowly but surely find your voice, and the writing will come at a more natural gait. The rejections will lessen a bit (though never completely) and your ability to make a connection with the reader will come a bit easier.      

This, of course, will only happen if you are willing to reach beyond your fear and open yourself and your writing to the world. I hope you do.