Afraid 1

You’ve probably seen some variation of this meme before. It’s been making the rounds on the interwebs for a while now, and the question it poses is a good one. Fear keeps us from all sorts of things in life, and can certainly wreak havoc on your writing efforts.

That said, I would like to humbly suggest that the above question isn’t quite pointed enough. Sure, fear’s a bitch, but often the fear that holds us back (in life and in writing) is fear of a very specific thing. With that in mind, how about the following revision?

Afraid 2

I have lots of fears about writing. Worrying that I’m not good enough, that I’m just a hack and I’ll never write anything of real value, is certainly one of them. But the fear I get hung on most often isn’t fear that I’m not talented, but fear that something I write will make me look foolish. Dumb. Silly. Messed up. Stupid.

Good writing, someone once told me, walks the line of embarrassing the author. It’s the quirks and odd details you add to your stories that make them unique and special. But those same details give people a window into your soul, or so it feels. As a result, sometimes we hold back. We want to include something specific, but we don’t really want to deal with the questions people who know us might ask if we do.

Look, maybe the details you write into your stories say something about your hidden passions and guilty pleasures, and maybe they don’t. Maybe the voice of your narrator, flaws and all, is really your voice, and maybe it’s not. Maybe your stories showcase an intimate view into your inner workings, and maybe you’re just making shit up. There’s no definitive rule there, but that’s not the point.

The point is this: the risks you shy away from because you’re afraid of looking stupid are, more often than not, risks worth taking.

Don’t let insecurity or fear water down your writing. Don’t be afraid of looking stupid. If you’re going to be afraid of something, be afraid of the opportunities those same fears can steal away.

Meet that fear with a resolve to give it nothing.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

6 Responses to afraid

  1. Thanks, I needed to hear that!


  2. tristdagon says:

    Glad to know it’s not just me who’s afraid of making myself look like an idiot.


  3. Ugh, too true. Personally, I’m planning a “Face Off” type move, (you know – John Travolta and Nick Cage) and then I’m moving to the Swiss Alps, so that I can write freely and fearlessly.

    On second thought…maybe I should move first and then have the op. I hear plastic surgery is kind of their thing over there…

    Love this post.


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