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Old Friend Fear

Skulls 8 - photo by Augusto De Luca I’m going through the graveyard of old stories, bits and pieces, snippets that didn’t make it into final books. It’s good to do that every once in a while, just to keep all the compost turned over and actively fermenting. I’ve been tormented by the thought that all ideas are stale, even though there’s no shortage of them. That nobody will ever buy another book from me again, that I’ve had my turn.

Really, it’s just that old friend, fear. I don’t believe in writer’s block, as regular readers well know. What I do believe is that the fear takes many forms, it’s insidious, and it hits right where one’s vulnerable. Nobody knows your insecurities like you do, after all.

The trick is not to bury the fear, or to think you have to be fearless. Fearlessness is most often sheer idiocy. It’s okay to be afraid.

Just write anyway. Use the fear as a spur to one’s stubbornness, one’s determination to keep going.

Despite fear, despite everything, just keep writing. My job isn’t to make the ideas better–that’s the Muse’s job, and she’ll do it as long as I keep my end of the bargain, which is to keep my discipline, put my ass in the chair, and write daily. I’ve committed myself to the words as a vocation, and there’s no taking that sort of thing back. There’s a certain relaxation in having no choice.

But yes, dear new and aspiring writers, even people with multiple books out self-torment with fear. It doesn’t get much easier, it just gets more familiar.

Now, I’d better get some revisions done, and work on that zombie apocalypse story…