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3 Ways Writing Takes Courage

April's "lost month" syndrome seems to have carried through into May. Case in point, this post which was due to be posted yesterday. You'll forgive me, right? My monthly focus for May is courage, and in particular how it relates to writing. I've never given thought to more than the old "I am, therefore I write", but in talking with several new-to-publishing authors I've had to take another look at what it takes to do what we do.

3 Ways Writing Takes Courage:

Corona Typewriter
image courtesty of Kristin Nador Flicker Wana Commons/CC BY 2.0

1. When we first take pen to paper we shine a light on our dreams. By doing so we risk failure, or worse. Those things we hold most precious are the ones we clutch the tightest. Sometimes it's easier to give in to our desire to keep our dreams safe and bury them so deep even we forget what they are.

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.”
― William G.T. Shedd

2. Somewhere down the road we have to share our work. It doesn’t matter if it’s with a favorite teacher, an online forum, a beta reader, or (hopefully) a publisher. Sharing our work is hard, lonely, and one of the scariest thing a writer can do. Ask any author you know. Trust me, we’ll go on for hours.

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
— Muhammad Ali

3. We have to be  honest with ourselves. Readers can tell when we are authentic in our work. We have to be willing to face the hard questions. Whether they deal with emotions and reactions for our characters, or why we are procrastinating when it comes to putting  words on the page.

Just be honest with yourself. That opens the door.
— Vernon Howard

But to me, the part of writing that takes the most courage is just when we think we’ve won the battle - we have to be willing to do it all over again.

I'm fascinated by this idea both as an author, and a reader. How about you? If you're a writer, what part of the process did you find the most difficult? Readers, do you ever think of what it takes for your favorite author to share their dreams?


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 20th, 2015 01:48 am (UTC)
Ugh, sharing. So haaaarrrd, the sharing! When I first joined Library of Moria back in 2004, my first LotR fanfic was the first story I'd written in a decade and a half, and I dithered moment to moment between being pretty sure it was okay to post, and quite certain everyone would wonder what the hell I was even thinking by posting it. So, yeah, big step there.
May. 21st, 2015 05:53 pm (UTC)
*points to readers* See? See the author go on about how hard it is? Ha! And this from an author who writes amazing fic! *cuddles the Brig*

It's ridiculous how hard it is to put the work out there. I have a friend who writes gorgeous stuff - but she will never submit it to a publisher. Drives me crazy. Then I dither over my own stuff.

But, I bypass it better now - I email the work to myself first - take a look, find the very obvious error I missed and correct it. Then I feel better about sending it off to the publisher. :)
May. 22nd, 2015 04:54 am (UTC)
Sharing for me too. I've been writing all my life, that part's never been scary for me, but letting people see something I've written? Yikes! Honestly, the only reason I sent in a MS to my 1st publisher was because I wanted the tax break (you can claim writing expenses if you can prove you're trying to get published) and I was convinced the publisher wouldn't read it. (It was pretty huge--like 350K huge.) I still struggle with that part and I never go near places like Goodreads.

Weirdly, I don't even like it when people tell me nice things about my writing. I get flustered and weird and I have to change the subject as quickly as possible.

...Man we're a strange bunch, aren't we?
May. 28th, 2015 06:26 pm (UTC)
We truly are. :) What a great reason to send in a story to your publisher!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )