A Writer’s Thoughts – Part 1: Breaking Through the Fear

On March 13th 2017 I published the first blog post after having left full-time work to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. In ‘A New Chapter’, I outlined my aim to publish a new post each week. Here we are over two months later. This is my first entry since then.

It’s not that nothing has happened over the past two months, or that I’ve got nothing to say. On the contrary, a lot has happened, both good and bad, and I’m afraid I have plenty to say. If I were being dishonest with you and myself, I might say that I’ve just been too busy to write a new blog post.

It is true that without any set working hours, I find myself sat at my desk either writing or fulfilling part-time job commitments at all sorts of times. There is no longer a clear demarcation between when I’m working and when I’m not. It’s also true that I have put a great many hours into working on Seven: The Days Long Gone, and learning all that I can about writing and storytelling from books and online courses. I’ve even managed to work on a couple of short stories and started to break a story for a screenplay.

I have therefore kept myself busy, but I cannot honestly say that that’s the reason for my silence. I’m a firm believer that if you really want to do something, you’ll find the time to do it. No, the genuine reason is fear.

In his magnificent book On Writing Stephen King suggests that many writers are afraid of ordaining themselves with the title of “writer” because they feel that they haven’t earned it. Perhaps it is arrogance, but I couldn’t relate to that. I’m proud to call myself a writer.

What I didn’t anticipate, however, is that in taking this major step, I now find myself afraid of being judged. I have joined the legions of people who call themselves writers with little published material to justify the assertion. For me, dwelling in this limbo has meant that I’m afraid of just letting my thoughts tumble on to the page. I’m afraid of baring my writing for all to see.

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The intention is that this post constitutes the first entry in a blog series entitled ‘A Writer’s Thoughts’. I will endeavour to write each post with the same candour as I have done here. With this in mind, I hope the series will fulfil three purposes.

First, these blog entries are an attempt to break through the fear. I have found the very act of writing this open, honest blog cathartic. It was the same two months ago. Writing has been, and likely always will be, the only way I can express myself with confidence.

Second, it would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I don’t hope this blog series helps my writing career. I want you, the reader, to get to know me. When you do, I hope you will join me and support me in this adventure.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, my ambition is that ‘A Writer’s Thoughts’ shares with you the lessons that I’m learning all the time. I should emphasise that I’m far from a literary or storytelling expert. It always irritates me when relatively inexperienced people claim to know “the answers”. We are all different; advice that is revelatory to one person will be meaningless to another. All that we can do is offer our individual perspectives: the personal answers that we’ve found to the questions that are relevant to us. If something in one of my blog posts interests you, then the post is a success. If it resonates with you and offers perspective on something in your life, then, to me, it’s a triumph.

I realise I’m probably shooting myself in the foot here, but again I’m going to try to write a blog post each week. I’ve put a crack in that wall of fear. If I keep hammering away, maybe I’ll break it down.

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