Stepping Stones Blog

Fear of Writing (Part 2)


It seems rather silly to fear writing. In my mind, fear is beneficial only to protect life, but the decision to become a writer is most definitely not a matter of life or death.

But it is a matter of worth – of value – of significance. And I fear that a life devoted to writing is not a worthy life.

But wait. That is not quite accurate. I do not judge others who devote their life to writing. Quite frankly, I hold them in high esteem. If it were not for the visionaries of the past, our world would be deprived in the present.  For example, every year I look forward to teaching  A Tale of Two Cities.  While I enjoy  Dickens’ writing genius, it is the transformational quality of the novel that I most admire. Not just transformational for the characters – especially Sydney Carton – but transformational for the reader – no matter how many times she has read it!

And I do not judge artists who spend their entire lives trying to capture life as they see it on canvas. I adore the Impressionists, and yet many of them were considered “failures” by their contemporaries. Artists such as Van Gogh sold few paintings in their lifetime, and yet their masterpieces touch millions today.

Please do not misunderstand my point. I would never compare myself to a Dickens or a Van Gogh. But when they were alive – they devoted themselves to their craft regardless of financial gain – and I think nothing less of them.

But for me… I cannot give myself that break. I cannot seem to let go of the “productive” component.  That inner voice constantly admonishes that if I cannot earn money or benefit others with my writing, then time spent pursuing this craft is wasted.

My fear is not in writing. I have no problem putting words on paper.  And my fear is not so much rejection.  I love to learn, so as long as constructive criticism is given in a kind manner, I am all for critique groups and learning to revise rough drafts.

My fear is in the value.. the worth… the productivity of my efforts.  My fear is that is not enough.

When I share this fear with others, I am often told that we should create “art for art’s sake” and not for any concern of monetary or personal gain.  I am a bit stumped as to what this quote actually means, but I am intrigued and plan to investigate further.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)




  1. cathyensley

    For me, writing fiction holds few fears. My ego doesn’t thirst for recognition, and we have enough money to live comfortably. If I needed either of those things (fame or wealth), I would find them using different means. Because there is NEVER any guarantee of (traditional) publication (the avenue I prefer).

    I guess for me, it really is more about making art for art’s sake. I am filled with passionate curiosity about my characters and whether I can master the craft well enough to create a work of art that hits my target market. Hits it well enough to be enjoyable and, hopefully, sale-able to those readers. I love challenges.

  2. Well put. I struggle as well putting pen to paper, something i did not have in my teens but now…. sigh. I just need to write. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: