Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fighting the Fear

I finished a book tonight that I've been reading over the past couple of months, savoring it like good chocolate. It's called "The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear" by Ralph Keyes. Wow, has it been good. It's one of those books I am excited to read again and again because there was just so much good stuff packed in it that has already helped me in my quest to overcome or at least deal with my fear. If you haven't had a chance to read this book and are struggling with your fear like I have I would strongly suggest you run not walk to your nearest book store and pick it up. It is packed full of examples from dozens of writers who have struggled just like you and me.

People like E.B. White. You know, the guy who wrote Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little? Yeah, that guy. Evidently he struggled so much with fear that at times he would put a manuscript in the mail only to chase down the mailman and beg him to give it back. Mr Keyes says "When the Paris Review wanted to interview him for its Writers at Work series, White said he'd be better qualified for one on Writers Not at Work." Evidently Mr. White had a history of anxieties that shifted as he grew and his best method of coming to terms with his fears was to turn them into stories.

That's just one example. There are stories from authors and poets cover the past hundred years or more. It has been tremendously helpful in letting me see that every writer has some fear or another and that the trick is not to try and overcome the fear, but rather to use it to push me onward, to convert the fear to excitement and help me write.

I've got some great new tricks in my bag now, things I hope will enable me to get back to the page and move past the crippling fear. Things that let me see I'm not so wierd after all. Well . . . I am, but it's okay . . . I'm a writer. Wierd is normal for me. As I'm always telling my friends, "I have come to embrace my wierdness." I think that's how this book has helped me the most. It's let me see that I'm okay just the way I am. Now I just have to use it to put words on the page. Wish me luck!

Quote of the Day: "You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist, you are learning your craft- then you can add all the genius you like."
~Phyllis Whitney


Pink Ink said...

I love that book, too!! Yeah, it's amazing isn't it, to see these real successful writers have hang-ups, too.

Laurel said...

Good luck Karen! :)