There’s so much fear in my life as a writer:
When I see “I was a professional writing major.” I was no such thing. My studies have been a joy in so many ways, but none of them had ‘writing’ in the title. I feel unqualified to become a writer, to put my writing out there. ‘I must fail, because I haven’t had all that training.’ I know nothing about the writing trade, and I’m learning as I go. I’m just someone who loves to read, who loves to write, who has all these feelings and ideas and knows no way to get them out except through writing, who loves to create beautiful things.
When I see somewhere I’d love to get published. But am I good enough? Is my writing? Is it really a good fit? How do I make myself stand out from all the others who want to write for you? What will I write?
When I sit in front of a blank page, waiting for the words to come. It’s such a place of trust. Will the words come? Will God come? What if I haven’t been listening hard enough? What if I have been separating myself from God all day; what right do I have now to come to this place of worship and expectation, and hope that God will come, when I’ve been shoving God away all day, all week? Or what if God and I disagree about the words that are needed? Sometimes I don’t have the strength to give in.
When I think about the future. Can I make this writing thing work? Am I submitting enough? To the right places? It’s just so overwhelming!
When I get ready to submit something. Is it any good? Will they accept it? Yes, submitting anything is a victory, but… That’s a bit of my soul I’m sending out.
When I think about writing. Writing is a lot of work. I think of stories I’d love to write, ones that need research. When will I do that, and how? How can I go from my images and emotions to words on a page? The work involved scares me.
When I read an amazing book. ‘I’ll never be this good.’ Everything that they did well, I despair of ever doing half as well. Will anyone ever be so completely drawn in and enchanted by my writing, as I am by theirs? It seems impossible.
Being afraid frightens me. I would much rather not be afraid, thank you very much. I would much rather power on through, supremely confident of my own abilities and where I’m going. Of course, that also sounds like a fantastic way to become an arrogant monster, so perhaps it’s for the best.
I can’t ignore my fear; it’s certainly not going away. Ignoring it sounds a lot like trying to stuff everything you hate in the closet until your closet explodes. Not going to go well, in other words. I can’t just pretend I’m not afraid, because I am. But then, life is scary too. There’s just as much uncertainty, just as much vulnerability, at least in the life I hope I’m living, the one that I strive for.
Sometimes I just have to acknowledge my fear, say, “Hey, I see you there” and then move on. And then do it anyway. My fear constricts me, but I’ve started to fight against it, to fight for the freedom to follow my dreams rather than allowing my fears to trap me where I am. Sometimes I just need to acknowledge my fears, say, “This is what I’m afraid of,” and go through everything that could happen if my fears were true. And you know what? Most of them are things I’m completely willing to live with. This article won’t get accepted; I’ll have to rewrite that devotional. I will have been foolish, perhaps, made mistakes, but I will have been fighting for the life I dream of. I will have been fighting for what God has gifted me to do. I will have been fighting to follow God, one step at a time.
I am afraid. But is it anything worth being afraid of?