Writing and Courage
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." Anais Nin
This weekend, I found myself writing in my journal that, among all my mid-life regrets (and there are many), most or all of my slip ups can be traced back to a failure of personal courage.
Sure, at the time, it felt more comfortable to take the easy road, the less scary or daring choice. But now, in hindsight, I see this was a mistake.
So this past week I challenged myself to a daily act of courage. Every day, I had to do something that scared me. It could be big or small. But it had to be something that proved I could and would push through my own trepidation, my own "no-don't-do-that!" inner voice.
It was a grey and rainy weekend here in Massachusetts, so this little self-test gave me the oomph I needed.
It also reminded me that writing, by its nature, is an act of courage.
It takes a lot of chutzpah to fill a blank page or screen with our own words. It takes even more daring to strike out past the fear line, to write into that spot that scares us most.
So if you've written today, bravo to you.
Now tomorrow, write or do something that scares you even more. Query or pitch that agent or editor that seems like a reach. Dive back into your manuscript to edit it again. Write the hard stuff. Kill your darlings. Cut out all the fat.
In the rest of your writing life, say 'no' to the naysayers, the time users, the cynics. Say 'yes' to letting your own in-born talent shine through. Say 'yes' to that thing that's scaring the be-jeepers out of you.
It's a new month, the last week of our 2016 summer. So set your own daily courage test.
Feel free to report your feats and successes in the comments below.