Category Archives: Fear

Write, write, write

There is a small voice in the back of my head that keeps repeating one word: write! No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I hear that voice. Sometimes it is so low it is barely a whisper. And sometimes it is so loud I can’t hear anything else. But it is always there.

I admit I am a timid writer. I am unsure of myself and sometimes wonder if I am even good enough to call myself a writer. I have fears and insecurities about my writing all the time, sometimes to the point where I won’t even go near the computer and avoid paper and pen like the plague. Yet, I still here that voice chant: write, write, write.

The funny thing is, even when I question my ability to be a writer, I still get ideas. They come to me in my sleep, while watching TV, while listening to the radio, while working my boring job, while eating dinner with my family, while in the shower, and while just sitting out in the backyard enjoying the nice weather. Sometimes I’m able to jot them down and sometimes I have to let them pass me by as I have no way to get to some paper. But they still come to me.

The other day, as I sat and stared at the screen trying to get the words out to move my story along and feeling frustrated because nothing seemed right, I could still hear that word in the back of my mind: write!

There are times when I get frustrated with that voice. I try to write everyday but sometimes the words just won’t come, yet that voice still says to write. But sometimes, most times, when I’m feeling down because I want to follow my passion but just can’t seem to find the right direction, I hear that voice and it cheers me up. It’s as if something bigger than myself has faith in my ability to write.

I may never be a best-selling author. Heck, I may never publish a word for anyone but me to read, but as long as I can write, I will. And that voice in the back of my head that tells me to write keeps me focused on that goal, building my self-confidence enough to keep putting one word after the other, forming those sentences and paragraphs until I have told my story.

I may struggle with writing every day for the rest of my life, but I will keep writing. As long as that little voice keeps cheering me on, as long as new ideas keep generating in my brain, I will keep putting one word after the other. No matter how inadequate I feel, no matter how crappy it might sound at the time, just keep putting those words down one at a time and remember: write, write, write.



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Filed under Dreams, Fear, Writing


I have days, even weeks, where I doubt myself. When the words just won’t come no matter how focused I am, I feel that the last thing I am supposed to be is a writer. I doubt my ability, my commitment, and my desire to write.

When I doubt my writing ability, it leads to doubting other things in life. My self-esteem comes under attack at these moments. I begin to feel that all the steps I’ve ever taken to pursue writing have been a grave mistake. And I wonder if I shouldn’t have taken a different fork in the road somewhere that would have led me to another career, another passion. To something where I am not filled with so much doubt.

I start to wonder what if. I’m really good at that game. What if I majored in something else in college besides English, where would I be today? What if my fifth grade English teacher never encouraged me to enter that region wide grade school writing competition? What if the sky turned green one day? What if?

There are days when the doubts plague me worse than others. I look at what I wrote for the day and see only the flaws. Never dwelling on the gems that do shine through even in the rough draft. I can lose myself in the doubts, believing the doubts are absolute fact and not the creations of my own mind where fear lives.

I have a good friend, a kind, caring, loving friend (who is also brutally honest, which is the best way to be) that tells me all the time that people suffer doubts all the time. Everyone, she says, has doubts. You just have to acknowledge your doubt and press on anyway. I find it strange to think she has doubts as she always seems so self-assured.

But I have learned she is right. Even the most self-assured people suffer from doubts now and then. The only difference between them and me is they continue on anyway, barely giving pause to their doubts before picking up their shield of self-confidence and carrying on with the fight while I struggle with my doubt, as if it is quicksand. There is a way out, I just panic and don’t see it quick enough.

And yet, I can’t see myself as anything but a writer. Even if the only place I have been published is in the local newspaper during my 12 year stint as a reporter, I still feel like a writer. Every day I face the screen of my computer, my incomplete novel staring me in the face. 2,000 words complete, 10,000 words complete, 15,000 words complete, 21,000 words complete. Each day I add to my word count, I grow stronger in my desire to be a writer. 

And as my desire grows, so does my conviction that I am meant to be a writer. And with that strength, I am able to battle the doubt.



Filed under Fear, Writing

Reclaiming my creative soul

When I was in the third grade, I hated English class. I couldn’t understand the grammar and usage lessons. I was horrible at punctuation. And reading was just a jumble of letters on the page that didn’t make any sense. I tried to hide it, but amazingly enough, the teacher saw me struggle and called my mom.

After some testing, they diagnosed me with dyslexia and poor reading comprehension. I had to attend resource classes to help me deal with my learning problems. And my mother, who worked full time as well as took care of us kids, the house, and my dad full time, made time in her busy day to work on my reading comprehension problem.

I loved books as long as someone read them to me. But I hated reading because I could never understand what was going on. But with the help of Mrs. Stieg, I learned how to deal with the dyslexia and with the help of my mom and Laura Ingalls Wilder, I managed to conquer my reading comprehension problem. I learned to love reading and became a voracious reader.

In fifth grade, I learned the love of writing. We had a district wide creative writing contest and I entered it. I only received a participant ribbon, but it was satiny white and the first award I ever won. And I continued with my writing.

Through middle school, high school, and college, I wrote for newspapers and literary magazines. I thought myself a poet at first and entered many poetry contests as well as submitted my poems to various poetry magazines and literary journals. I never won any contests and have a folder file full of rejection slips. Still I write.

Soon I also wrote short stories. I submitted some of these as well, receiving rejections too, but I also submitted one to a contest and received third place. There was no money for third, just a certificate, but it was enough. Just being validated as a writer was all I needed.

Then I got my first job in writing, as a reporter for a small newspaper. At first it was exciting. Meeting new people, hearing their stories, and writing about them for the paper. I also kept up with my creative writing at home. It seemed like I was writing nonstop.

But as the years passed and work became more stress and less fun, my creative writing began to suffer. I hardly picked up a pen, let alone turned on the word processing software on my computer.

As a reward for my article writing, my editor gave me my own column where I could write what I wanted within reason. My love of writing surged back and I enjoyed thinking up ideas and writing my opinions about them. I was also able to do some creative writing for a serial story in the Newspapers In Education section of the paper.

But then I began getting criticism for my opinion columns. Not constructive criticism mind you, but out and out hate on topics I wrote on, topics that stayed away from politics and religion and focused on my life, such as dogs, writing, family, community service, and so on. I did have my fans, people who enjoyed my column and told me so often. But it was the people who complained that wore me down. They complained about my writing style, they complained about the space my column took up, they complained about my topics. And when my column wasn’t in the paper, they would complain about that as well. It just got to be too much and in the end, I gave up the column and writing became a chore again.

With the loss of my job due to budget cuts and downsizing, I decided to go back to writing. I decided to reclaim my creative soul. I began keeping a notebook journal of writing. My thoughts on it, some poetry, and story idea.

I began to do some soul searching. Let me tell you, soul searching is exhausting, time consuming work. But there is no shortcut, no quick fix, no fast forward button to get the job done.

It takes a lot of sifting, sorting, keeping and discarding to get to the important layers, to get to the heart of the problem and to the solutions, whatever they may be.

And what I discovered is my love of writing.

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Filed under Childhood, Dreams, Fear, Writing