Have a fear of heights? You avoid traveling long distances, and you definitely avoid bridges and planes.
Have a fear of public speaking? You avoid sharing your ideas and thoughts, which means you also avoid the possibility of achieving success through bringing your ideas and thoughts to fruition.
Have a fear of writing what scares you? You avoid writing in those spaces that might enable you to learn about yourself as a person and as a writer and growing from that new knowledge.
What does "write what scares you" even mean?
- It could mean writing about those things that have brought pain into your life. Perhaps you have experienced a difficult divorce, and the main character in your latest WIP is experiencing the same thing. Having to balance your creativity and writing with your emotions can be problematic.
- It could mean writing about those things that don’t directly affect you, but that still bring you pain. For example, my novel Into the Web features a serial killer who kidnaps, rapes, and kills young girls. It’s not the easiest subject to write about, and as an empath, I often find myself taking over the emotions of others—to include characters. It was difficult to write the book, but because this is the direction the book had to go, I as writer had to go with it.
- It could mean writing about those things—themes, genres, character types, etc.—you’ve never written about. As writers, we can get comfortable in what we write, in how we write. That comfortability can hinder our creativity and any future stories to be told.
Although the thought of writing what scares us can keep us frozen in place, we can conquer the fear by writing through it. Here are three benefits that can come from writing what scares you:
Benefit #1: You can conquer a fear. This seems obvious, but often, this obvious benefit isn’t enough to get us to write what scares us. If we focus on the other side of the fear, a finished story, we may have a better chance of working through the fear—and killing that fear for good.
Benefit #2: You can grow as a person. When we write stories, we’re not just writing stories. Come again? Sometimes, we are untangling personal ideas and thoughts through our fiction, and in the act of writing, we can gain knowledge that can help us understand and fix problems in our lives.
Benefit #3: You can grow as a writer. Most writers want to be prolific, they want to be known for having written a strong body of fiction that educates, entertains, and/or excites readers now and in the future. We can become that prolific writer when we move into uncharted territory and delve into new subject matter, new genres, new media forms, new characters that enable us to create stories that expand not just the breadth of our writing, but also the depth of our writing.
Don’t let the dark shadows of fear hinder your writing because writing what scares you can actually be a great thing.
Do you write about what scares you? If so, how has your writing benefited from it?
|Creative Passionista Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator whose biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. She has published both creatively and academically and interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her author website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment.|