I’ve never met a writer who didn’t feel some sort of fear about the work.
Come to think of it, I’ve never met anyone who did anything worth doing, particularly in the arts, who didn’t feel some sort of fear associated with that pursuit.
It is my contention that artists had bloody well better be in fear, at least some of the time. Writing is dangerous and it does cause pain, and it should be, and anything that involves opening a vein, is bound to. That’s a large part of what being a writer is.
We claim to produce work whose value is related only to its beauty and its ability to move others. Wouldn’t that scare you? If not, I think it should.
It is a huge responsibility on the artist’s part to produce work that has genuine value, at the very least, at the point of sale. I might not still be in print when I die, let alone a century thereafter, nevertheless the person buying my product is hopeful that it will make his heart sing and nurture his soul. He’s not just filling his stomach, satisfying a physical appetite for a while. He’s not just covering his body to satisfy a need for physical warmth or comfort. He’s not even putting a roof over his head.
When a reader buys my work product he is feeding and warming his soul, he is sheltering his heart from the storm that is raging all around him in a hostile World. That is my job, and I’d bloody better be afraid!
I take it seriously.
I want to write well.
I want to write great stories and I want to write them beautifully.
I never want to lose the fear.
I also never want to lose the other feelings associated with writing.
I never want to lose the feeling of utter exhaustion at the end of a long, productive day.
I never want to lose the feeling of disbelief when I get to the end of a story that I didn’t know I could finish.
I never want to lose the feeling of a new character walking into a story and changing every thing.
I never want to lose the feeling that a story has a value of its own, because of some magic that I wove.
I never want to lose the feeling of reading a story I have written back to myself and knowing that it has value, sometimes more value than I could ever have hoped for.
Writing is not for everyone, despite the fact that everyone seems to want to write. It is a gift and a challenge, and a compulsion and an utter bloody nuisance, and it fills me with fear every day that I do it.
Fear is fine. Fear is one of the many emotions that keeps me going.
If you fear writing and do it anyway, perhaps you’re on to something.
The day I give up doing what I do will be the day I begin to dread writing.