When shit goes down in our lives, how do we keep writing? At best, we lose our ability to focus on our work. Sometimes it makes us question our work—question whether what we have to say will be relevant. Or at worst, become afraid to write what we write.
There’s no more tragic fear for an author than being afraid to give voice to her story because she fears persecution for it. And that’s what one of my friends said to me recently. She was terrified that her work would be misinterpreted or even ridiculed.
It’s a very real fear to grapple with. How can we be brave enough to write what we need to write amidst a fear of persecution? But the truth is, this is nothing new. Writers have feared this from the beginning, and the world needs your story now more than ever.
Some thoughts I have on how to combat and persevere even when the fear of writing what you need to say, and the world needs to hear, threatens to block the words from flowing out of yours fingers:
Know you’re not alone
Your writing community is your greatest ally. DIYMFA is an amazing community and finding a writer amidst our ranks who can empathize and encourage you is essential.
Put the blinders on
Block out the world. Whether it’s headphones, a quiet room, a disconnect from media, even a pledge to spend a weekend off Twitter and Facebook, disengaging from the chatter lets you retreat into your story and give it the focus it deserves.
Fuel the fire
Find ways to remind yourself why your work is important and needs to be told. It could be a person, a memory, a picture, a book, a poem, some music. Stay connected to the source of your need to write your story. When the world is trying to disconnect you from it, finding small ways to hang on to your cause can become precious.
Value your work
Know that what you’re writing is not just mere words on the page. It’s sentences and ideas that form to create a world full of characters and experiences with the power to change lives. If you need to write it, someone needs to hear it.
See it through
There’s nothing sadder than a story that sits dormant on a drive with no one to ever read it. Give your story the respect it deserves. Don’t give up on the editing or the pursuit to find readers. Once you’ve put up the fight to write it, the world needs it. And you owe it to the world to get it out into the light.
Know what you need
This can seem like a lot of pressure. For some people, pressure is good. It fuels them. If you are not that person, and intimacy and gentleness is what you need to write it, give that to yourself. Find out whatever it is you require to feel safe enough to write your story.
The world will be a better place for having your story in it. Don’t let the pressure from the outside world stop you from writing what you believe.
I need that comfort as much as anyone. I still haven’t had the courage to start the story I need to tell. I’ve written over six novels since I started writing, but the one I’m most scared to write—the one I’m afraid of ridicule for—still sits at the back of my mind, unvoiced, unwritten, unplotted, unsketched.
Here’s hoping I’ll be brave enough to write it someday.
I’ll need all the support I can get.
Robin Lovett writes contemporary romance in her debut novel, Racing To You. Her next series of dark romances will release the summer of 2017 through SMP Swerve. She is represented by Rachel Brooks of the L. Perkins Agency. She has a regular column on DIYMFA.com and loves to chat on Twitter @LovettRomance.