Don’t give Fear your Integrity.

I’ve been working through the different writing classes on Master Class, each taught by a different author. I’ve finished three of the authors’ classes and am working on my fourth. Initially I planned on just taking Malcolm Gladwell’s class. Of all the authors available to learn from on Master Class, his genre and style of writing is the closest to what I picture myself creating.

A few months after finishing Malcolm Gladwell’s class, I started Neil Gaiman’s class. It was then that I realized really important; you don’t learn about writing by studying a specific genre or style of writing, you learn about writing by experiencing it and learning from those who have experienced it.

This morning I sat down with Margaret Atwood to listen to her thoughts about writing. This is what she told me:

If you really do want to write and you’re struggling to get started, you’re afraid of something. What is that fear? If you’re struggling, identify the fear and deal with that fear and then that door will open for you.

A lot of people think about being writers, but when it comes to actually writing something, they freeze.

Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing Master Class

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m taking a bit of a “sabbatical” from writing and posting on this blog to work on a book. I’m in love with this story that I want to tell and it has a powerful message, but I’m struggling to write it. I find a lot of comfort in spending time doing the research, but I realize that I’m using “research time” to get out of writing. I’m using the research time to feel productive and justify not writing. But if I love writing and capturing thoughts with words, why am I trying to find ways to get out of it?

Because it’s overwhelming.

I fear that I won’t be able to create the vision that is in my heart. I fear that reality will prove to me that I lack the capability of writing the story that I want to create. And that might be true. I may not yet possess the skills and talent to write in a way that speaks to hearts and inspires change. My current level of writing may be mediocre and flat and boring, but why should that be a reason to stop now and not try?

Marianne Williamson is quoted as saying:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.

Marianne Williamson

But those words are not true for me.

My fear is that I may never rise above being an inadequate writer while I yearn and strive to become a powerful writer. My fear is that after all my work and efforts and struggles, I will look back and see that I was only able to make it one step forward.

But one thing I know for sure, if I stop writing now, I will remain at the same level of writing (actually if I stop writing, it’s more likely that I’ll digress in my current writing skills), but if I keep writing and if I finish this historical fiction piece that I’ve set out to write there’s a chance that I’ll come out as a slightly better writer at the end of it. And I think that pushing forward, even if there is little progress made, I will feel more satisfied with myself that if I stop and give up. I may mourn the fact that I made no progress, but I will mourn with dignity and self respect for trying.

February 19, 2020

Time writing: 30 minutes

Total time writing on this blog: 180 hours