A Writer’s Fears

Without putting much thought into it, I commented to one of my bestest-buds-EVER that I’d completely forgotten about a blog I started what seems like ages ago. See, I was laughing and having a merry hour or two reading through Mel’s point of view because it is so very, very different from Fera’s, and I simply wanted to chat with my friend about this.  So, my buddy gets the link, and either ignores it or is reading it…and taking a while.

And all of a sudden, I have this thought:  What if they hate it?

Which instantly segues into fear about losing the bestest bud I’ve taken years to befriend and let them get accustomed to my eccentricities. Of course, logically, my friend won’t abandon me because she dislikes a certain story. If it truly is terrible, she would be the sort to say, “Dude. Delete it, never go back, and I’ll try to wash it out of my brain for a week.” And I’d do just that, and hide under the couch for a week or two until I was certain she’d had sufficient time to scrub the terrible writing out of her brain. But…yeah, that is not the sort of reply I look forward to, and waiting to hear what someone thinks of something you’ve written is agonizing.  Naturally, my husband thinks I’m the best writer in the whole wide world, but he’s my husband so he’s a little required to think like that. I don’t try to tell him otherwise, though I figure I must be in the middle of the pack somewhere, and as I a still under-advanced in age and experience, I don’t think that’s a shabby place to be.

Now, if a stranger were to post a comment to me and say, “Dude. Delete this thing. If you do, I won’t link it to ____ and make a public mockery of you.” I think I would be a bit put-out and disappointed, but decide that public mockery is nevertheless a form of getting my name out there, and maybe there will be a few people who genuinely like it.

There’s more to a writer’s fears than worry over if someone “likes” or “hates” it. There’s all the time you put into it. There’s all the effort. All the thinking, the plotting, the way you chose the words in that exact order.

But here is the gold-star question: Are we worried that people will hate what we’ve written, or that the writing will be forgotten entirely and our message lost?

What is it that drives us to write, anyway? A few strive for fame or money, but if that’s what you’re after, you’d be better off doing it by being a groupie or something where you have a bit of a higher odds. I think what makes writers write is that they have something to tell. And it must be told.  When you think about it like that, it sure makes the fears seem to be rather petty.


2 thoughts on “A Writer’s Fears

  1. This is such a timely post for me, Nicolette, because I’ve recently been revisting why I write. After much soul-searching I remembered I write because I have something to say – and that I want people to listen! Not in an egotistical way, just that I want my writing to touch readers, to make them think, perhaps, about one aspect of their life in a new and surprising way. Now I’ve published 2 books, and set myself deadlines for the 3rd, it’s easy to slip into thinking that I’m writing because it’s my job, or for commercial reasons. Of course, the benefits are lovely! But I used to write compulsively before I was published, and this is where I want to return to now. So you’re right – it’s not about whether people love or hate your work, it’s about what it means to you, as a writer 🙂

    1. I’m glad the post spoke to someone. 😀 You invest so much time and effort into writing that you need to be sure of the motivation behind it, or you may burn out or end up hating it. There’s good reason that many “think about it” stories are still in circulation, and that those stories get modified over time (remember when the Three Little Pigs would get eaten? Not necessarily so now): the stories are being used to convey a message. Sometimes the message is simple, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes people like the message, sometimes people don’t. And sometimes, people will hate the message at one point in life, and love it at a different time. The one thing your writing has in common is–you. I think, if you can stay true to yourself, you stay true to your readers.

      Thanks for the comment! Writerly conversation is so much fun.

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