I’m Afraid

I’m afraid of writing. 

I’m thinking I don’t have anything worthwhile to say, that I’m completely inadequate, and who am I to think I could write a book that people would want to read?

At the same time, my brain has been hijacked and my thoughts bump over each other, planning and percolating, and demanding to come out on the page.

My pen freezes over my notebook and the thought of opening a Word document makes me catch my breath. Once I add a folder called just write in this project folder under the book ideas file, then it is real. My life will be usurped and I will have to live among laundry piles and squeezed-in runs and early mornings clacking words.

And what if all of those words fall short? What if pouring my soul into this project turns out that it isn’t enough and my story doesn’t matter? What if this time the words stop coming and I realize that maybe I’m just a pretend writer after all?

These what ifs could go on for years. Yet, there is something stronger than all of those doubts and lies and worries.

It is a greater risk to not write than to risk that all of those what ifs might be affirmed. 

So I’m rereading these words and I’m believing that writing is not a waste of time and I’m not ridiculous and I can weave words in ways that tell stories and reveal truths and touch souls.

Just write. One word and another word and stack those words each day to reach 1000 then a chapter and another and another and a book.

Just write.

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  1. Thank you Ruth for your honest message. I was feeling the same way and actually took a blogging break to help. I have lifted your quote for inspiration. “It is a greater risk to not write than to risk that all of those what ifs might be affirmed”

  2. Story always matters. And words aren't worthless. Write because you need to, because you want to. Take a little stroll into another world and see if it's some place you want to stay awhile. And no matter what happens in that world, you are never inadequate.

  3. I have been in this same place. I was so bold as to tell people that I was writing and then the what if bug began to nibble at my confidence. Seems we are not alone.

  4. Keep stacking, Ruth! I'd like to hear again about that fiction writing you've put aside. Is it still tucked away or have you been working on it bit by bit!

  5. As I was reading this, my first thoughts were “Oh no, if Ruth has doubts…I'm really in trouble!” I know I tend to put many of you on a pedestal….which is quite deserving but maybe a bit unfair.

    Then as I finished reading, I was comforted by my final thoughts. Everyone has these issues or fears, even the ones I put up on that pedestal. It is a matter of…just writing. Thank you!

  6. I think you have stepped into my head (and heart) and written what I feel and think…uncanny your knack to read and feel the thoughts and feelings of so many…thankful that you do.

  7. What if you put together the greatest set of words that made awesome sentences to fill pages after page which turns out to be a best seller book breaking records on the NY Times book list? I guess we will just have to wait and see, because I know you HAVE to write to be you. You do touch souls.

  8. Another beautiful post, Ruth. One I'll share with students, I think.
    It reminds me of my mom. She wanted to be a court reporter when she was young but didn't think she was “good enough”. She ended up giving us kids a wonderful life, but I know it was always a struggle for her. And maybe didn't have to be…. if she just believed in herself.

  9. You are certainly not alone, and you have such persistence and discipline. You work hard at what you're doing. At the same time, you care about those around you and then some. It's so natural for you to write. Yes, just write. Be fair to yourself, too. Your stories will grow into something. You are still so young and experiencing life at its fullest and busiest. You feel comfort in writing as in reading a good book. Growing pains, my dear Ruth. You are a writer in the purest sense.

  10. Thank you for your honesty! Thank you for your vulnerability! As I read this post, I realize that I have moments (many moments) when I feel exactly like this. I admire your writing and to see that you feel this way too…humbles me and helps to keep me going.