where the writers are
On 'Fear' And 'Writing'...

A discussion on "fear" and "writing" --and the relevance of both...

READER JAN Writes: "Got to give you credit. You just keep on putting out your opinions and observations, even if they garner less than admiring reviews. You get the readers thinking: What do I have to say about that? Some of us are more cowardly, however, and don't share our opinions. (EDITOR'S NOTE: This references a previous blog-post here, (Raw) Musings On The Right To Say 'No')

EARL Replies: I'd have to caution you against giving me any credit, Jan-- as, I'm certain, would the various credit-rating agencies which trigger the cacophony of alarm bells and loud whistles whenever one of my credit applications reach their computers.

But I appreciate the sentiment, greatly.

Seriously, tho, methinks you have raised what may be one of the most central aspects of writing: fear of criticism, whether it be from others or from self.

I'd wager that this element keeps more writers from writing than anything else. It is, IMHO, the reason-behind-the-stated-reason(s) for not applying pen-to-paper, fingers-to-keyboard, or even butt-to-chair among those of the writin' ilk.

Nobody needs a sermon pontificating on why one should not be afraid of being fearful. For one thing, it turns into a silly bit of posturing on the part of the sermonizer; for another, fear can be a pretty useful tool for writing-from-the-heart.

All I'll say --and not specifically to you, but as a general statement to all-- is that it doesn't really matter.

Whether you write, that is.

We all choose to write, or not to write. If we do --if we write despite any fear, because of it, or because we're too self-indulgent to recognize it (and I "fear" that I may too-often fall into the latter category)-- its only because "writing" is important only to us as individuals.

But by and large, whether any of us write (or not) usually matters not a whit to any of the seven billion or so other co-pilots on our li'l terrestrial Starship. Even if they take the time to critique (or criticize, or even praise), to them our writings are just will 'o the wisps of little or no real importance to their own lives.

When we convince ourselves otherwise, it's usually just ego... and ego will kill a writer faster than heroin.

(grin) Still, if anybody who admits to fear needs a "noble" reason to plow ahead and produce written words, there's always this:

"One writer is fearful, and the other is not. They both decide to go ahead and write anyway."

DISCUSS AND DEBATE: "Which of the two writers has acted more honorably?"

I know for whom I'd vote. Betcha you do, too.

-- Earl "Credit Where Credit's Due, With Bills Overly So" Merkel