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Why are we so afraid of writing?

Often times I tend to think about what it is that scares people about writing. I think it tends to be a collection of things. As humans I think we are afraid to put ourselves out there in all aspects of life. Being vulnerable is scary and opens us up to rejection, something everyone can relate to. Although I’ve always loved writing, I often have been afraid to share my work with others. This didn’t come out f fear of rejection, but rather fear of embarrassment I guess. Vulnerability is not something I’m comfortable with and writing is a way for me to express that, so by letting other people read my work it gave room for judgements and embarrassment.

We tend to write about things every person experiences; love, happiness, sadness, and fear, so why is it we can feel uncomfortable sharing these things? I know for me when I’m writing a script I tend to have characters says things I wish I would’ve said in a similar moment or what I wish a moment would’ve actually went like, good or bad. As much as I do like getting feedback from other people on my work, it’s scary having people read those emotions and know that I wrote them. I think I used to be afraid of being judged for having feelings since I’ve spent most of my life trying so hard to not show them.

The older I get the more I become ok with having people understand my emotion through a page, that’s what writing is. When I was in high school I used to think it was the worst thing in the world if people knew how I felt about something and the idea of people knowing I had emotions seemed so embarrassing. Now I realize that expressing how you feel through writing isn’t embarrassing, emotions are what make us human. The stories we tell and the words we write allow us to make connections with other people. Words can help us feel seen and heard in times when we feel so isolated and alone, now more than ever really.

One of the things I think that comes with growing up and getting older is just realizing how unimportant others opinions on you and the things you like to do are. There comes a point in our lives where we sit back and see that everyone is too worried about themselves and what they are doing to even give a second thought to what you’re doing. I think if I realized this sooner I wouldn’t have been so afraid to not only put myself out there, but my writing as well. I think writing can help with your confidence in a sense. Put everything out there and basically telling people, “this is what I think and this is what I have to say”. Not everyone is gonna like your work and that’s fine. A hundred people could give a bad review of your work, but one person may like it. You gotta focus on that one person and realize that is your audience. I don’t like everything I’ve read or every movie I’ve watched, and that’s ok, I’m just not their target audience then. We get so caught up in thinking about what other people are gonna say that we don’t think about what we ourselves as writers think. I’ve become more comfortable within this past year and a half with sharing my work in classes. Once I got over the thinking of “do they like it?” or the “what if they think I’m a bad writer?” I realized it didn’t matter, it only mattered if I was happy with the work I was turning in. Now this isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate criticism or critiques, because I do, I enjoy them actually. I think if you can’t take criticism, then you shouldn’t be a writer. There is a difference with knowing that your work is good and being happy with what you’ve created and knowing when someone is right and has a point, and that point can strengthen your story or open up a new window you hadn’t thought of.

I think the point I’m trying to make in all of this is that fear in itself is a mindset. We fear rejection as humans, not just within writing, but within life itself. Once we start living our lives for ourselves and not other people, we begin to fully open up in our writing, we feel a sense of freedom and release. It’s not until we become fully free that we start making work that means something to us, and usually this is the work that other people feel a connection to as well, a reader can feel inauthenticity.

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