The Scariest Moment of Writing

The Scariest Moment of Writing

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

– Stephen King

 

Stephen King

 

You’re a writer, so you know what King is talking about.

We writers would rather scrub the kitchen floor, reorganize the garage, try one more time to get through to the cable company, walk the dog in the pouring rain  . . . anything but sit down and begin.

 

Procrastination: It’s born of fear.

 

I’ve been writing for 40 years, teaching writing for nearly 30. I think I might have a few useful things to say about the writing process, about the writing life.

 

But it’s taken me quite awhile to write this first blog post.

 

Why? My fear that it wouldn’t be good enough.

 

So after putting it off and putting it off, I finally did what I always eventually do when faced with a new writing task: I just started writing. First on one topic, then on another. I rambled. I swore. I found my way here.

 

Is it good enough? I vote yes. You might, of course, disagree.

 

But what matters even more is how you respond to King’s wise words.

Will you let fear still your hand, let it stifle your voice?

Or will you take a deep breath, push fear out of the way, and jump in?

 

More on breathing and the jumping-in thing in future posts.

More on the dreaded “writers block,” too.

 

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Writing Hand

 

 

 

 


2 Replies to “The Scariest Moment of Writing”

  1. Yes, I so relate to this. I’m sitting here blocked as I read this. I know the answer is “Shut Up and Write”.

    I am aware of old messages running in the background about my worth, not believing in myself, etc. etc. etc. Fighting them and learning to write at the same time is tricky.

    1. Kathleen, I just found your comment! Word Press didn’t send me a notification. I’m so sorry.

      I don’t think the answer is “Shut up and Write.” When we’re fearful, we need to identify our fears, face them head on. When we do this, they tend to evaporate (like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz when she’s doused with a bucket of water.

      I don’t think fighting fears works. I think that looking them square in the face and writing about them (or drawing them) to understand their source works a lot better.

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