Afraid of writing your book because...? Go ahead and jot down a list of your worst fears.
Scared of dying? Scared of failing? Scared of finding out you can't write your way out of a paper bag? (Who needs to do that, anyway?) Scared of hurting others with your words? Scared of contaminating the world with darkness? Scared you'll find out you're a monster? Scared you're just too scared to do anything?
Fears. We all have them. You can't put them in a bottle and cork it. You can't reason with them. But you can shift your relationship to your fears. And the best news for us Creatives: We get to use our fears to connect to our deepest stories.
Is fear of failing on your list? Fear of being unmasked as a fraud? Fear of people laughing at you and your writing? Fear that everyone will say, you're too late to try to do this, you should have started decades ago?
Now think about your story and your protagonist. Perhaps she is a woman in her 40s who left her family in order to pursue her career as a journalist covering global conflicts. What if she is injured when she's covering a war zone and she will no longer be physically able to do her job? She comes back home to try to write different kinds of stories and also to spend time with the family she has left behind. She looks at her family--her two teenage daughters and her husband are strangers. But as the speed of her life slows down, she feels her desire to connect with them deepening, growing stronger, until it almost feels like an obsession. But they have learned to live without her and they meet her efforts to connect with rejection.
She isn't writing a book like you. But if you connect with the deepest nature of your fears, can you see where she would be terrified of failure, afraid of being unmasked as a fraud, of being told she is too late, her kids don't need a mother now, they have their dad, and her husband has learned to parent by himself and he has a life, friends, true connections.
Your fears, at their most primal and basic, connect you to your protagonist.
Labels: character development, characterization, creative risk, fear of writing, inspiration to write