“Our fears are always more numerous than our dangers.”
Seneca, ancient philosopher and statesman
Seneca was a wise man and a wise writer. Though he lived in a very different age, the dilemmas he faced are much the same as those we battle with today. Talking with writers and aspiring writers, I often hear them voicing very similar fears. Here are three big ones that spring to mind:
Fear of not having anything to say of value — Write something, anything, that touches on the human condition in a way that readers can connect with and they’ll be on your side. Show them why and how their own lives have value and they will value what you say.
Fear that their creative wells will run dry: Creativity is like love — the more you give, the more you have to give. When our source of ideas seems to dry up, it usually means that we’re tired or bored and in a rut. When this happens, the best remedy seems to be finding a way to shake things up.
Fear that their work will never see the light of day — In my experience, some writers contend that they want to be published, yet in their heart of hearts, they are really afraid of taking this step. They feel much more comfortable inhabiting the Land of Possibilities than they feel committed to making it into print. So they spend more energy talking about the difficulty of getting published than they do sitting down and writing something and then revising it until it’s of publishable quality.
In the end, a lot of the fears surrounding writers seem to be paper tigers. As Seneca said so well, they are also more numerous than the dangers we actually face. So let’s stare them down and write on!