‘So, have you submitted any of your work to magazines or had anything published?’
The question was innocent. A genuine enquiry from someone who had read some of my work, had heard about some of my experiences and had offered some praise. But instead of answering truthfully, a multitude of excuses sprang immediately to my lips. ‘Oh no, I don’t have the time!’ being the main offending excuse. No time? How do you not have time for something you are passionate about? Funnily enough it’s a question I’ve been asking myself and I think I’ve found the answer. It’s been staring me right in the face for some time now and it has a name. Fear.
Fear of failure. Fear of someone mocking what I’ve worked hard on. Fear of success. Just plain old, run of the mill, fear.
I had stopped writing. The last thing I wrote was a couple of months ago and that was only because I had said it out loud… to a lot of people. My old friend fear raised its head and said, ‘You’ve done it now! Better get to writing!’ Which I did, diligently for exactly 30 days at the end of which I packed the piece up neatly and filed it away to look at again sometime in the future.
I was recently gifted a diary for writers. I began reading it only to stop at a page containing these words.
‘There is no excuse. You either write, therefore you are a writer, or you don’t and you are an imposter, or a dreamer, in which case hand over your fountain pen, your pained expression and please leave the building.’
The diary has been open at that page for a couple of weeks now, daring me to face my old foe fear. Am I a writer or am I an imposter?
In the words of the late, great Maya Angelou, ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’
Today I will turn that page of my diary, today I will pull out the random pieces of paper containing the ideas written in the middle of the night, today I will revisit my travel adventures, today I will face fear, today I will be a writer!