Finding Courage

While struggling to work on not only my novel, but also a short story to post on this blog, I came to a deep realization.  I was in a horrible rut, and not because of Writer’s Block.  I was actually being held up by my inner critic.

Now, I know there are numerous blog posts about how to get rid of your “inner editor” while writing.  Trust me, it feels like I’ve read them all!  And to be fair, I’d recommend checking them out.  As far as inspiring and encouraging goes, Jeff Goin’s article is my favorite.

But I feel a little left out in some of these articles.  Yes, I do still get caught up in thoughts about whether my work is good enough, but what if I think it’s great, but still can’t bring myself to share it?  It’s like the other side of the coin.  I’m satisfied with my writing, but too afraid to share it.  Besides sucking it up and biting the bullet, how does one overcome that?

I’ve been writing since I was about 10 years old.  Of course I was EVERYTHING short of being considered a prodigy, I assure you.  At the time most of what I wrote was poetry.  I even ventured into slight short stories, usually my friend and I would time ourselves writing then share our stories.  Eventually this developed into my great love of written Role Playing Games.   For those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s basically an ongoing story on a forum board, where multiple people contribute to a story.  Generally each person controls their own characters and write their own posts to move a story along.  I’d definitely recommend people who are just starting out and figuring out their writing styles to look around for these.  They’re great fun, good for gaining experience, and you can make life-long friends with the people you write with.

Favorite past-time plug-in aside, I was confidant in my writing, and my enjoyment of the process.  That is, however, until I had the idea to work on my own novel.  It was to be a fantasy novel since back then the majority of the books I read were all fantasy or science fiction.  I had so many ideas and created this big world in my head.  I even drew pictures of what would have been the main characters.  I felt so intensely about this project that I shared it with my family, along with vague story outlines.

Well, if there’s one thing you can say about my family, it’s that we’re frank with each other.  I remember explaining it to my family when we were packed in to my dad’s suburban.  Although my mom encouraged me to write it, my older brothers immediately began to poke at plot holes, and make fun of my made-up names.

Let me be clear, constructive criticism is a good thing.  And at the age of 13 my ideas were far from stellar.  However, I can trace my fear of sharing my ideas back to that one moment.  Sure my brothers were just teasing, and being logical, but at such an impressionable age, the damage was done.

I immediately dropped that whole idea, and tossed out the idea of writing a novel.  In fact, my goals change entirely.  I went from wanting to be an author, to wanting to be an editor.  All through that fear of sharing my ideas and my writing with others.  Let it be said that my 13th year of existence was not a good one.

Eight years later and my goals have finally shifted back.  With more experience in this world, I’m beginning to come back to my childhood dreams.  Writing is just what I was meant to do, what I’ve always wanted to do.  It’s been difficult to put myself out there, especially with my stories, but it’s a battle I continue to fight.

This blog, I guess, is the next step for me as a writer.  It’s important to me and I am determined to follow through with it.

And yes, I’m going to be cheesy and say:  Remember why you started following your dreams in the first place.  There will be people who try to bring you down, some of them might not even realize that’s what they’re doing, but have the courage to overcome that.  It took me almost 10 years, but I finally got there.  I still have doubts and I’m sure a part of me always will.  It’s a slow and gradual process, but I know it will be worth it.

So here’s to finding courage and conquering your fears!  Best of luck to all of you.  🙂


About Aly Hughes
Unprofessional, unedited, unpublished. Aly is out to make a name for herself by blogging, twittering, facebooking, and general internet-ing. Be warned: She may not know what she's talking about.

2 Responses to Finding Courage

  1. I understand how you feel.

    For the longest time I was reluctant to let anyone read what I wrote because I knew it wasn’t as good as I could make it. But as I studied and wrote more and my writing improved, I took baby steps to show certain people. That’s the hardest part because you never know if they’re just being kind.

    Eventually, you develop enough confidence in your abilities and take the plunge. With each story you reach a point where you say this is the best I can make this and let it fly. There’s always something more you will learn, and that’s why we need to keep writing, and taking chances–but always at some point–to let go.

  2. Aly Hughes says:

    You are absolutely right. The majority of writers I have met(including myself) are introverted, and rely on themselves more than others. I think this is what makes it especially hard for us to get over that first leap, to finally, as you said, let go, and externally start to share our writings.

    For me personally, I’m still getting there. I feel like I’m just beginning to build up my confidence. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has taken/is taking this journey. Thank you for your insight!

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