“What gives one the right to write?”
“Well, is there something that will go unsaid if you don’t write?”
“Well, then, you simply must write.”
You simply must write. Because something will go unsaid if you don’t.
This is a mantra that I am going to start repeating to myself.
For some reason, as writers, we don’t always believe that we should write. We don’t believe we have the right to write. We don’t think we have permission.
The above is a conversation Karen E. Peterson experienced (author of Write. `10 Days to Overcome Writer’s Block. Period.) in which she finally felt like she was given permission to write.
We want to write. But, we often pause at our computers or pads of paper, unsure of whether we SHOULD write. I certainly feel like this, and often.
I’ll often start something, get passionate about it, make progress and then all of a sudden, stop. My mind starts to wander, to ponder. To analyze.
Why am I writing this?
Certainly it’s been said. Certainly someone else has already had this experience and put it to paper. What’s the point?
But, in what other profession do people look at what they are doing and say they can no longer proceed because it’s already been done? Doctors certainly don’t and thank goodness for that. Because each Doctor adds something to the profession that someone before him or her would not have been able to add.
The same is true here.
Yes, maybe someone like me had the experience, but, they weren’t me. And I experienced that moment differently than anyone before me. I thought different things, I had different fears, I approached it with different experiences behind me. Just as no two people ever read the same book the same way, no two people ever experience the same moment in the same way. So, write it.
Writing fiction? Same thing. There may only be a handful of stories out there, but everyone tells them differently because everyone is different. This may seem a simple concept, one that’s easy to grasp, but for writers, it’s a concept that, if not fully accepted, can be crippling.
But, if you don’t write, what will go unsaid?
I want you to really think about that for a minute. What will go unsaid? Maybe even make a list. Something will. It’s up to you to decide if that something is worth pushing past self-doubt and fear and getting the words down on paper.
I confess, I am currently letting this exact doubt stop me. I can write about writing until I’m blue in the face (or until my fingers break) but when it comes to writing the story that I have inside of me, I am absolutely frozen with fear. I’ve started talking about it. I’ve started organizing it. But have I actually started writing it? No.
The “Who Cares” Fear
It’s a story that I’ve had inside of me my whole life because it is my life. And that, the thought of putting my experiences out there for the world to see, that’s terrifying. But, if I don’t say it, who will? Someone might say something like it because I’m sure people have had similar experiences. But, no one has had
But, no one has had my experience. If I don’t say it, there are definitely things that will go unsaid. But, even now, as I type this, there’s a little voice in the back of my head whispering evilly, “But is it really worth saying? Who cares if it doesn’t get said?”
And to that, I reply, “I care, dammit. I care.”
And for now, that has to be enough. I am giving myself permission to write. To say what would otherwise go unsaid. And, I give you permission, if you still need it. Go forth, write words. Write YOUR words. Because if you don’t, no one else will.
Know someone else who is stuck? Share this post with them and give them permission. Or, simply give them a pat on the back and tell them to get to it.
Or, share this on the interwebs and hope it falls into the write hands. (See what I did there?)