The Importance of Writing Like You’re Scared (Just a Little)

Holley Gerth wrote a lovely post titled “You’re More Courageous than You Know” in which she encourages us all to live like we’re scared just a little. It’s beautiful. She also expresses that idea in a way specific to writers, which is how I first heard it.

“Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.”

It’s a perfect way to write. If you aren’t writing scared, if you aren’t pushing the limits of your ability as a writer you might as well stop writing completely.

What brought all this to mind?

A friend of mine challenged me to write something in an arena where I have no experience. Naturally, the first thing that sparked in me was fear.You know, the usual garbage of “You can’t do this,” “You’re no good,” and even “You’re not a real writer anyway. Stop kidding yourself.” Like I said, all the usual crap I toss into the garbage can ASAP.

One perfect antidote to my own infernal editor is to read what complete strangers say about my writing. That’s always the best measure. They have nothing to gain by saying something positive.

One of the awesome things about publishing books is folks on Amazon are not shy. They will tell you the truth. Now if that doesn’t scare the pants off an author, published or not, nothing will. Reading the praise of complete strangers is a surefire antidote to those thoughts.

Back to Holley’s quote.

If you’re not writing scared, as Holley puts it, you’re not growing as a writer. I get that. Completely. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to procrastinate a little before I get down to the task of doing my job, of course!

Something sparked my imagination about a week ago to create an image around Holley’s quote. I don’t remember what sparked that notion but after my friend encouraged me right out of my comfort zone I opened up my copy of Poser 11 this weekend, my favorite writing procrastination tool, and started to play.

Here is the result. Let me know in the comments section what you think of it.  I have to get to work on that new book, thanks to my friend Isaac.

“Write Like There’s No Tomorrow if you don’t get the words onto the page.”

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