Facing My Fear of Fiction

This may come as a shocker, but one of the main reasons I started this blog was because I love to write. However, when I was growing up my ambition was never to be a blogger. I wanted to be a novelist.

Blessed with a passion for reading, the first time ambitions of becoming a novelist crossed my mind was after finishing the third of fourth Harry Potter novel. I remember being absolutely entranced by the world J.K. Rowling created and amazed that I could be transported into it through the mere act of reading words.

It wasn’t just Harry Potter, though. While I admired Rowling’s ability to create a magical world that felt so real, I also became captivated by the way so many authors had perfected the craft of writing. The eloquent prose of Jane Austen. The terse but vivid descriptions given by Hemmingway. The work of authors who could, through the use of words, turn even the most ordinary scenario into something memorable. The more I read, the more I felt the desire to craft my own beautiful prose.

Despite my fascination with both the craft of writing and the stories that come from it, I never gave my dreams of becoming a novelist a real shot. Every now and then I would have a surge of inspiration and try to create a story outline or even write a few paragraphs, but those moments were always short-lived. I never felt like my ideas were good enough or that I had the ability to write a cohesive story. Even more than that, I was scared that my dreams of becoming a writer would stay just that: dreams. I looked at all the authors that had inspired me and felt like there was no way I could ever come close to them. I was scared that I would try to do it and fail miserably.

Following the Fear

In the book “The War of Art,” Steven Pressfield talks about how strong feelings of resistance (fear) are usually signals pointing us in the direction we need to go. As someone who is deathly scared of spiders, I have a hard time believing that I want more eight-legged monsters in my life, but I do think there’s some truth in that idea, especially when it comes to the fear of failure. And in the case of writing, it’s clear to me that my fear is secondary to my feeling of passion. Unfortunately, I’ve just let the fear stop me from really acting on that passion.

Now that I recognize this, I’m going to start exploring the world of writing fiction. I’ll start small, of course. Maybe a short story every week or something like that. The important thing for me is that I be willing to dive into the fear, to take a chance and see where this desire to write can take me.

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