Are you Afraid of the Words?

At the moment, folk are being taught that in order for them to succeed they need to be scared of creating work. If you are to write a novel then you must fear each word you put down, you must be petrified of your characters, and you must worry about every thought subsequent readers have of the work.

This is the only way you will succeed as a writer.

It is all right to feel anxious. I have had many issues in the past with my own writing. I have documented them here, but I believe that we shouldn’t tell writers that they must be anxious because that’s what writers do – sit at home, feeling anxious and watching re-runs of Jeremy Kyle with a carton of Tropicana and a half-eaten custard cream.

We should tell writers how it feels to have completed a novel; remind them of the glow and the sense of worth. It is easy enough for writers to give up, without other people making them feel there’s no other option. I have left plenty of projects behind – years ago if you were to read this blog, you’d find plenty of posts about projects that never saw the light of day or were never completed.

When you’re writing it can be incredibly easy to forget why you started writing your work in the first place. Ideas are easy, it’s the execution that’s difficult, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel passion for the work. It doesn’t mean you should be scared of writing. It means you have to work harder to achieve something.

As a writer, you will be seen as lazy, you will be seen as a fool, and you’ll often be asked why. It will be brilliant. You are not lazy, you are determined. It would be foolish to leave the idea floundering in your mind, and not regret writing the book when it’s too late. And more often than not you’re writing because it hurts not to – there will be physical pain in your chest, and unfathomable sadness.

You should not be scared to write.

If you are passionate enough about a story that’s all you need. Throw all past ideas of difficulty out of your mind and write one word at a time. If you write just five hundred words a day, you can have fifty thousand words in three months. If you plot your novels that’s great, if you don’t plot that’s great as well. There is no right way to write. All writers have their own idiosyncrasies when it comes to how they write – it’s the best way to prove you’re individual.

Make a promise with yourself to complete your novel – the time span doesn’t matter. All that matters is finishing. It can be rough around the edges, it can be startlingly bad; it will be your novel, they will be your words and you will feel brilliant.

Until next time, that is all.

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2 thoughts on “Are you Afraid of the Words?

  1. Meldi says:

    Anyone who tells me to be afraid can go jump off a cliff. There are far too many things to be afraid of in the world, I won’t be afraid of my words and what my readers think. No one should live in fear of anything.

  2. patrickprinsloo says:

    Interesting piece, Charlie, and reassuring. Although I’m never going to attempt a novel, I sometimes get anxious about even when about to make short pieces public. Scared of what people will say, think. So I need to take a long deep breath before I hit the send key.

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