The hardest part of being a freelance writer is finding the courage to put your neck on the line. First, when you open yourself up to write, whether its fiction, non-fiction or a letter to your best friend, you have to open up about yourself to bring life to the writing. Secondly, writers need the courage to publish their writing. If you keep it in a box under your bed, safe from the world, its less scary but you are also stifling your voice. As a writer your voice is a treasure to share. Its a shame to keep it locked away, silent.
That’s why I bought the book The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes. The purpose of the book is to encourage writers to reach out past their fears. However, the first half of the book describes the fears of other, already famous writers. Although these are stories of success meant to encourage its not really that helpful. I came looking for ways to help myself. That’s when I read far enough to get to the second half of the book. Its here the real advice and suggestions start.
One of my favourites is writing before you’re ready. Just start, don’t wait for everything to fall into place surprise yourself into writing. This is something that does work for me. How about using your fear. All that energy generated by your fear of failure, fear of being exposed as a fraud, etc., take it and use it as energy for writing. Get yourself charged up and then pick up a pen, turn on the computer and pour it all out into words. This is something that would take a little mental work but it could work. Could you write in your car, while waiting for your kids at the dentist, in the middle of a packed shopping mall or while sipping a coffee after dinner at your kitchen table. A change of place could bring you a change of pace if you’re feeling trapped by your surroundings, your mood or your fears.
Many other suggestions come up in the book. Each writer needs to read it to find what works for them and which appeals to them personally. There is a lot here for writers of all genres, personalities and skill levels. Here and there are writing tips, for the actual writing. I found this a good experience but I never really found what I was looking for on a personal level. I think my answers might be in a different book, one that covers self-esteem a little deeper. But its a good start at figuring myself out as a writer and it did make me feel inspired to write, create and most of all get my stuff published.