Why do I write? Well, the better question is why don’t I write? What keeps me from putting pen to paper (clickety-clacking away) when it feels like I have so much to say? I suppose the short answer is fear.
Fear of what? Let’s start with the external factor(s): what will others think? What will my husband and kids think (especially if I have something less than flattering to say about them); what will my mom/-in-laws/brother/sister/dad think; what will friends and neighbors think?
Once I begin to articulate these fears, they dissipate a bit. Do I really care what others think? Well, of course I do. But the people who know me best, who support and love me, would never ridicule or reject me. It’s actually a little bit insulting to think that they would, when you get right down to it. And for those who I know who *might* be critical (or mean) well, what’s the worst that can happen? If someone were to disagree with me, or to ridicule me, is that the end of the world? Again, as I articulate it, no, it’s not the end of the world. But it does loom large and is a pretty good motivator to not write/not write as often/not write about that (whatever that is).
Once I sort out all the external people and things I am afraid of, I still have to face the internal fears. What is it within that keeps me silent, from doing and saying important things? Am I afraid of my own voice? Maybe a little, as it feels unused, like when you have a frog in your throat or muscles that are rusty from disuse.
Am I afraid of what I might have to say – or think or feel about something? Maybe, a little, as it feels like hearing from a long ago friend who you love but haven’t heard from in a while. Am I afraid of the hard work and the vulnerability involved? Maybe a little. Sometime writing is pushing through – not easy – and vulnerability is beautiful in others but terrifying in myself.
I appreciate Brene Brown, and her work on vulnerability. I also just read a great book: Imperfect Courage by Jessica Honegger. She says that going forward while you are scared is the great call to all of us; that going scared is what allows us to connect with others and live a life of impact.
So, I post today acknowledging that I am afraid sometimes. And yet, I will continue to show up and to write because fear isn’t the last word.
This post is inspired by the WordPress online course, Writing: Finding Everyday Inspiration (Day 1: Why Do You Write?). Read the whole series here.