Monday, August 6, 2007

Fearless Writing :: Part II

In my Fearless Writing post, I talked about the practical aspects of writing and why fear should have no place. And while I stand by everything I offered in that post, I realize that simply saying, "just do it," isn't always so simple, because fear is often impractical. It is a basic psychological, even intuitive, response. And while I'm not a psychiatrist, I've learned some things about fear, and its ability to undermine writing efforts. I'd like to share those things in this post.

Fear, at its very core, is primarily a reaction to the unknown. We've been conditioned to flee what we do not know because sticking with what we do know tend to be good for basic physical and emotional health...or is it?

The unknown, by its nature, may very well offer us insight or truths about ourselves, our world, and the relationship between the two. Along the way, it is entirely possible that the unknown might also show us things we don't like or that make us feel uncomfortable. It is only through knowing these things, I would posit, that we can progress both as writers and as human beings.

We write to explore. It's how we make sense of the world. Be it a sonnet, a novel, a piece of journalism, or even a blog about something difficult, but worth facing, we write to explore. And it is only when we explore, that can we discover. What if Christopher Columbus didn't face the fear of the world actually being flat? Like Columbus, writers are explorers. And it's not writers; all artists are explorers.

By embracing your fear, understanding what it is you are fearful of, accepting it, and moving forward, you can make at least one person's life better: yours. Who knows? You might just make a difference in others' lives, too.

Remember, every instance of fear is also an opportunity for courage. It is only when we face life's challenges (like fear) with courage that we truly learn how strong we really are. I firmly believe writing can be a vehicle for this sort of self-discovery, but only if we approach it fearlessly.

Related Posts
Fearless Writing
Fearless Writing Part III

1 comment:

Patricia Singleton said...

Geoff, well spoken. Facing our fears is well worth the results. Facing my fears gives me freedom that I have never felt before. It brings me new friends like you. I appreciate my friends as you can probably tell from the articles that I have written about those closest to me. I subscribed to your blog earlier tonight. I am looking forward to reading more of your wisdom. Thanks for the link. I just discovered it when I went to add a comment to my own article. Have a glorious day. Welcome to my world, friend.