Writing What Scares Me

Have you read Rachel Thompson’s piece on writing what scares you yet? If not, I definitely recommend it.

One paragraph in her post stood out to me, nay…screamed out at me…the words jumping off the screen and resonating with that part of me that keeps all my “difficult pieces” under lock and key.

Part of the process any writer must contend with is: what will others think? But wait…isn’t that the point? While we may write in seclusion, we don’t publish books in a vacuum. We publish so people will think!

I am very, very overly aware of what other people may think when reading any of my words. It’s why I’ve never openly shared this blog on my personal Facebook account, and why I felt the need to separate my Twitter account from Facebook. I have family on Facebook, and Twitter (and my blog) are the places I feel safest in sharing my experiences…probably because people I know in real life won’t stumble across it. Or, they wouldn’t have before.

Now that I’m a published author (Gosh, it still feels exhilarating saying that…), I have more and more people I know in real life stumbling across this blog and my Twitter account. It’s both awesome and terrifying.

I’m still struggling with maintaining that sense of freedom I felt before, back when my Facebook, blog and Twitter accounts were segregated. Back when I felt like I could share a little more.

Except…I’ve always been a little hesitant to share all my truths. I’ve been afraid of what people will say when they realize that I do not have my shit together, like they think I do from what I post on Facebook. I’ve been afraid that they’ll laugh at me for all my mistakes.

The fact is, 98% of the time…things aren’t as amazing as they seem. Yes, I am doing a lot of incredible, awesome things…but I still struggle with major set backs and disappointments. I still make mistakes. I still have struggles that almost outweigh the awesome. Those struggles are heavy, real, and very suffocating…and I don’t share them because I’m afraid to. I’m afraid of what people I know will say, hell…I’m afraid of what people I don’t know will say.

The truth is, I’m terrified of failing and proving to the negative voice in my head that I’ll never amount to anything, that I am a burden. And I do feel that way, I constantly have to argue with myself to keep pushing and keep motivated. It’s exhausting, especially when I’m fighting for two right now.

It feels almost freeing, to write this post…to admit that I have these fears like many writers do. It’s inspirational when another person reaches out through their computer screen and slaps you with some truth.

So…I’m going to close my eyes and dive in. I’m going to try and find my voice again, to speak my truth even if it hurts. As Rachel said…

Accept now, before you even start, that some people will hate it. Then again, some will love it. Write for the lovers.

Strip yourself naked, bare your soul, and be brave. And if your family has a hard time with it, tell them to write their own damn book.

Sometimes, the truth is unpleasant. It doesn’t make it any less true though.

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About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
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One Response to Writing What Scares Me

  1. Your post reminded me of this quote:

    “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

    ― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

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