Thursday, October 29, 2015

"There's Only One Reason for Lack of Creativity: Fear." ~Elizabeth Gilbert

Due to my unique perspective of being a 40 year-old single woman who has never married, I have been asked to guest blog in November for Fort Worth Weekly’s romance column Xs & Os. At first I was thrilled with the idea of being published in a local, well-read publication. Then the fear set in. I can't do this. No way. What if I write something embarrassing about one of my Exs? What if one of my students reads it and starts thinking of me as the old hag cat lady librarian? Okay, well I am the cat lady librarian, but definitely not the old hag!

I soon realized the total irony of the situation. You see, one of the classes I teach at Fort Worth Writer’s Boot Camp is called Write Fearlessly (which, coincidentally, I will be teaching  December 5th). In the three hour session, I guide my writing students through whatever is holding them back in their writing. That irony struck me this morning, while journaling, that I need to take a dose of my own medicine. I teach a class on working with fear, but I'm letting my own fears block me.

When it all comes down to it, I have a fear that most emerging writers have: what will everyone think? Unlike many of my students,  I don't have a problem journaling about it. I don't have a problem writing out what I think in a Word document and saving it. I do have an absolute fear of actually making this information known to the world. Posting it on a blog is opening my world up to the entire planet. That scares me.

I worry about how people I may be writing about will react. I am concerned that maybe my perception of a situation may be different than what actually happened. Like all humans, I am an emotional creature and sometimes I will respond to a life event in an emotional manner.

What snapped me out of this fear was the quote above, by Elizabeth Gilbert, showing up in my Facebook feed this morning. The only thing that is stopping my creativity is fear. I can't worry about what I may say about others in my writing. I can only worry about not writing.

This is really the problem that I've had with all of my blogging efforts in the past. I’ve wanted to be as authentic as I possibly could, but putting it all out there was just too much for me. So, it is absolutely time for me to re-think my writing and remind myself that my story is too important to be held back. I also need to revisit my favorite Anne Lamott quotes, one that I use in class to break the ice with my students over their fear of what they have to say about others in their writing: