Sunday, July 5, 2009

Going Where the Fear Is

I just read this and it really resonated with me, so I thought I'd share.

So much of writing is going where the fear is. Fear is power, and a lot of writers don’t want to go there. It’s absolutely natural. Who, after all, wants to be afraid or hurt? Feelings of fear or pain exist for a reason. They are warnings, and quite effective ones. They’re like the reflex that pulls your hand back before you realize you’ve touched something hot. (Gom jabbar notwithstanding. Ha.)

Harnessing that power, going where the fear is, writing even though your hands are sweating and your heart is in your mouth, is the very least you owe your readers. You have a bargain with them–you tell the truth, they keep reading. Lie, bullshit, pull back or cop out–and they sense it. They smell it. It will get your book thrown across the room faster than anything.

These two paragraphs come from this blog post by Lilith Saintcrow titled "There Is No Bloodless Art": I hope you'll read the rest of her article.

I realized a while ago that I've been letting fear rule me and get in the way of my writing. I'm still working my way through it, one itty bitty baby half-step at a time. Anyone else suffer from this? How do you deal with it?


Mary Ricksen said...

I totally understand what you mean. But if we never experience fear, how could we write about it?
Let's just hope that our fears are minimal.

Penny Rader said...

Thanks, Mary! I like that. Minimal fears. :D