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What Are You Afraid Of?

Unless you were already living in a war zone, a global pandemic is the probably scariest thing you have experienced in a very long time. If you were already prone to depression and anxiety, there is nothing like a plague to ramp up the tension setting to high.

It is okay to feel scared and frozen. To wonder why you should bother to write a book when the world feels like it is ending. What's the point? Who can afford to buy it? How could you possibly launch it? Are publishers even accepting new works?

The fact is books are getting many of us through this difficult time. Book sales are up. 

Some are reading dystopian books for reassurance. Fictional worlds survived. People carried on. In many countries, dictators are in power and authoritarianism is on the rise. We may be inspired by heroes who fought to overturn corruption.

The same applies to historical books set in war time and disaster thrillers. There is comfort in knowing someone somewhere managed to survive natural disasters, famine, pandemics, world wars, regime changes, and genocide.

Fantasy has been a great distraction. Fictional worlds where the problems aren't real allow us to escape for a while. Times like these make us wish more than ever that we had magic wands.

Mysteries are a way to tap into the desire for vengeance and justice. We may not be able to control our own environment, but the bad guy always gets caught and punished in a good murder mystery. 

For some, Romance novels make us feel hopeful about the world. Finding love and connection are important parts of life.

Uplifting literary novels remind us that loving our neighbor is a good thing. We are inspired by people pulling together to overcome adversity. We are reminded of the power of love, the need for forgiveness and tolerance, the value of friendships, and the importance of community.

So, when it comes to being uncertain about whether you should continue to write, my answer is yes, please do.

There have been so many great memes about writing this year, but this is my favorite, "I wonder how many incredible book series are out there that I'll never get to read because the author gave up on their dream. I bet my favorite book in the world was never even published. Finish what you started." Caleb Robinson.

Further reading:

Best Writing Year Ever

Diana Hurwitz is the author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Love the quote by Caleb. It reminds me of a good friend, and excellent writer, who kept giving up and we in a writers' group had to bolster his spirits. Sadly, just when he saw his first major publication, the first in a proposed series, he died. That always reminded me to keep on keeping on no matter what.
    Great post, Diana.

    1. You never know what life will throw at you or when.

  2. Lee Child is giving up the writing life at age 65. My first book was published when I was 65. Never abandon the dream unless you've really had enough.

    1. I started late too. Haven't decided about writing more yet. Still on the fence. But I have plenty of time.

  3. Yes! I totally agree with both Maryann and Pat. Keep on writing whether you are 25 or 55 or 85. The body may exact a price for the assaults of passing years, but as long as the mind is working, creativity marches on. It's encouraging to learn that book sales are up. With all the negativity on so many television programs (daily news, talk shows, interviews, and beyond), books step to the fore as a great choice for escape, relaxation, and entertainment. Excellent post, Diana. Thank you. :-)

    1. Luckily, writing is something you can do at any age anywhere anytime as long as the muses cooperate. :)

  4. I've discovered downloading ebooks from my library. Talk about never having to leave your house in a pandemic. (I do go grocery shopping.) I've been reading books I ordinarily wouldn't read because they're at my fingertips, from an Amazon ad to the library, in one easy step. I also finished my book, worked on another one, even though I admit it has been harder. What else would I do?

  5. I would have gone nuts if it weren't for stories: books, series, movies. There is always something to look forward to. I spent a lot of my life laid up to various illnesses and I don't think I'd have mentally survived if I didn't love stories.


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