On Risk And Writing And Becoming A Lady Who Fights Fear

When I quit my job last year, I was thrilled about what it would mean for me as a writer. I imagined myself spending eight hours a day writing effortlessly because I love it, and being totally satisfied and fulfilled all the time.

Surprise: that’s not really how it works.

It is a daily struggle for me to spend even one hour actually writing. I know that sounds ridiculous since I no longer have a day job, but it’s true. And I know that I’m not unique in this sense; I know that anyone who ever wanted to be a writer faced the same struggle. I just didn’t think it would be this hard.  

One of the things I’ve found to be the most difficult is deciding what to write. I have a journalism degree, but I don’t consider myself a journalist. I have a list of ideas for short stories, but I’m not sure where I would even put them if I wrote them. Some days I think I could be a poet, but then I read something like this and get totally derailed by the trap of comparison and decide that going to Target is probably a better idea than writing anything at all. 

And then I start to consider the fact that I’m already 31 and I don’t have an MFA and there are already a zillion other bloggers out there doing what I’m doing only better, and I start to wonder if I should just go get a regular job so I can at least count on a regular monthly salary and buy myself new shoes whenever I want them.

Because shoes make me temporarily happy.

When I said all of this to Dann last night, he told me that doing what’s easy simply because it’s easy is not actually what we’re made for. He’s good at reminding me that I’m going to die one day and that my life has purpose and that if I do anything out of a fear of failure, I’ve already failed.

He’s pretty okay.

One of my ultimate desires in life is to fight my fears. I don't want to be lying on my deathbed, wishing I had been less afraid. It doesn't matter that I'm 31. Lots of writers don't have MFAs. And I know what it's like to have a regular job just for the sake of the regular paycheck and the shoes.

Plus, the beauty of this blog is that it's totally independent, which means I really can write whatever I want. I may experiment with some journalism this year. One of my short story ideas will become an actual short story before we leave town again in April, mark my words. And though I may have to start with an acrostic, I'm committed to working on writing poetry too.

This morning I sat down and spent a good, full hour writing. I turned off my wi-fi. I started and stopped. I deleted. I apple z’d. And about 20 minutes ago, I remembered that the title of my blog came from my desire to fight my greatest fears. For now, I’m satisfied and fulfilled.