F is for Fear


“Fear is felt by writers at every level. Anxiety accompanies the first word they put on paper and the last.” 

Fear isn't something we talk about a lot in terms of creative process. But it can keep us from following our dreams for years, even lifetimes. And that's a real shame. 

Because, at the end of your life, you don't want to have big regrets.

Such as:

I never wrote that novel I dreamed of.
I never published a short story.
I never wrote down that children's story.
I never followed my dream of writing.

I've heard lots of people say some variation of this. You probably have, too. The good news is, it is virtually never too late to follow your dream. 

Don't believe me? Check out these late bloomers:

Grandma Moses began to paint seriously at the age of 78.
Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't publish Little House on the Prairie until she was 64.
Frank McCourt was 66 when he published the Pulitzer-prize winning Angela's Ashes.
Millard Kaufman published his first novel, Bowl of Cherries, at the age of 90.
Anna Sewell published Black Beauty when she was 57. 
Richard Adams published Watership Down at 53.
James Michener was 40 when he published South Pacific
(He went on to write 40 more books before he died at the age of 90.)

What the heck are we so afraid of?

For beginning writers, fear might manifest as worries that they might never be able to write a meaningful story, or a whole novel. For experienced writers, it could be fear of not being able to produce another bestseller, or even another great story.

We fear that we aren't good enough, no matter how much others tell us that we are.
We fear that we can't "make it" as a writer. 
We fear that no one will want to hear what we have to say.
We fear that it has all been said before.
We fear that it will be too hard.
We fear that others will be disappointed if we follow our dreams.

Look, I'm not suggesting that you ditch the day job to write the great American novel. The truth is that the majority of us had better keep a day job as long as we can, even after publishing that first, second, or third novel. 

For most people, writing just doesn't pay what it used to.

Luckily, writing is something you can work into your life no matter what you are doing. If it is your passion, and you are disciplined, before you know it writing will be an important part of your life. And when you have passion AND discipline, success follows. It simply does. Will you become rich? Financially speaking, probably not. But will writing enrich your life? 

Most definitely.

And never forget what writer Kimberly Turner has to say about the matter:

Here's what we need to remember: We are writers. Not Olympic gymnasts. Not runway models. Not strippers. We don't need to cash out at age 20. We've got plenty of time to master our craft, ditch some manuscripts that don't work, get rejected, and start again. We've even got time to build another career that's altogether unrelated to writing, decide that it's not right for us, change direction, and become successful in publishing. As long as we can move our fingers on the keys, we still stand a chance at making our authorial dreams come true. 

Other inspirations & cool links



  1. This may be the inspiration that I needed to get my own story written.
    #AtoZChallenge F is for Fitzgerald

  2. You can do it, Mary! Go for it!

  3. This is great! Also love the "We don't need to cash out at age 20." sentiment. Very true.

    Clarice from
    Clarice Creates

    1. Thanks, Clarice! Looking forward to seeing what you do tomorrow. :-)

  4. Great post, Sati! Blogging and sharing my writing--facing that self-doubt, will they, won't they? Freeing and exhilarating! Thank you!


    1. Thanks Bathsheva! See you in WVU :-)

  5. Thank you so much Sati! You definitely hit the nail on the head or my head! Fear has always held me back, especially the fear of not knowing if I'm not good enough. Or that maybe I lost the writer within me and I'm trying very hard to find myself again. I'm so glad you started this blog that so reflects your brilliance. Thank you!

  6. Great, glad you enjoyed it! I so appreciate your feedback. Now go write something!

  7. I think fear can hold us back from many things in life. I still cringe sometimes when I put up a blog post, afraid that it isn't as good as I wanted it to be, or that someone will leave a critical comment (which hasn't happened often - most people leave very polite feedback if I've made a typo or something isn't clear). The worst is getting a submission back with a "no thank you" or asking for what amounts to a complete rewrite. But that's the way that you learn and grow as a writer!

    1. Yes, I know exactly what you mean. And such a wise way to look at it--learning & growing. That's what it's all about. :-)

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Great post. We can't let fear stop us and now matter what age we are, we can be creative. Glad to see this as I got a late start almost ten years ago at the age of 47. There is no age limit when it comes to creativity.

    1. Thank you, Robin! Absolutely. You can do it!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A poem for the times: and one night, all that was burning

E is for Editing

A-Z Challenge Reflections