Monday, November 22, 2010

Are We Afraid to Write?

Note: My posts this week will be short and sweet, and there will be no post on Thursday.

Now back to that question about fear...

When I finished the Michael Crichton novel, I picked up The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes.

The book was published in 1995, so it's a tiny bit outdated when describing the author's submission and marketing methods, but I have a feeling the main thrust of the book--the writer's fear--is just as valid today as it was fifteen years ago.

Keyes compares "page fright" to "stage fright." Writer's block is not an absence of ideas, but an absence of courage. Interesting concept, now that I think about it. Is that what procrastination is all about?

This small 200-page book promises to be very interesting. Have you read it? If so, what did you think?

22 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - I haven't read The Courage to Write but it sounds as though Keyes has some really important things to say. It really does make sense that writing involves getting past fear. And I am quite sure that procrastination is as much about fear as it is about anything else. Thanks for sharing this...

Karen Walker said...

I had stage fright quite badly when I first started singing. If I saw someone looking at me, I'd freeze. Perhaps writing is the same. Others are reading our words, what poured out of our souls. What I do now with singing is stay focused inside myself. It's about sharing me with others. So is writing. Some will like me and some won't. That's life.
Karen

E.J. Wesley said...

Hi Patricia,

There are so many latent fears involved in the creative arts. Whether putting pen to paper, voice to song, or bringing life to a character, creating something from the depths of our imaginations and soul can be terrifying when we know others will judge it. It can be a real crash course in vulnerability and insecurity.

This sounds like a fun/informative read. Let us know how it turns out.

On a side note, hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday! I should be cooking right now, btw, not reading blogs! :)

Clarissa Draper said...

I have never read it but it looks interesting. I know many writers who have that fear.

CD

Stephen Tremp said...

I have not read it myself. But I'm looking toward reading smaller books during the holidays so a 200 page book is appealing.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good morning! Margot, I knew in just a few pages I'd be finishing The Courage to Write, and it might be one I'll keep in my library of favorites. I have a feeling there's a lesson in there for me.

Karen, I was always the same way about speaking in public. My knees would even shake I was so scared. I've overcome that pretty well. My biggest problem now is doing readings with these darned trifocals. Worse than going downstairs.

Hi E.J. I'm glad you let your cooking wait just a little while this morning. I'll definitely do another post on this book when I've finished.

Clarissa, I just wonder why blogging has turned out to be so much easier than writing stories. :)

Hi Steve, That's what I was thinking when I picked it up. Beats starting King's Under the Dome, for instance.

KK Brees said...

Thoughtful question, Patricia. So many folks in the creative arts are introverts and yet we crave an audience. What a strange mix we are.

Terry Odell said...

The writing itself isn't scary (at least to me). It's the publishing aspect that creates the terror.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Jenny said...

I haven't read it, but I love the "page fright/stage fright" comparison!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Sounds an interesting book, thanks for sharing.

Yvonne.

Talli Roland said...

I have heard about this book or read it, but it sounds like something I should read!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Karen -- we are indeed a strange lot. But very interesting...

Terry -- That's what I thought, too. But Keyes points to some quotes from famous writers who are even terrified to begin writing. I'll talk more about that when I finish the book.

Jenny -- The page fright quote was the thing that made me wonder about my procrastination habit...

Yvonne -- I can't imagine you having a fear of writing. Your poetry always speaks from the heart.

Hi Talli -- wow, it's almost December 1st. Aren't you excited?

Ann Best said...

The book does sound interesting.

The only thing about writing lately that I'm afraid of is that I'll run out of blogging ideas! Or write a blog that doesn't make sense. Maybe one of my followers will be honest and tell me if it doesn't!!?

I think short and sweet posts are the best. I'm going to work on this!!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I haven’t read it but it sounds like an interesting theory. I plan to see if our library carries the book.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Interesting book! I do feel a lot of uncertainty, definitely, when I'm procrastinating--just not knowing exactly how to approach something.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Ann -- I suspect 500 words or less is best for most bloggers. I've had days when I thought I had nothing to write about, but usually wring something out of the day's events.

Jane -- the library would probably order it if they don't already have it. I think there was a new paperback edition released more recently than the hardcover.

Elizabeth -- Maybe our procrastination is what others call writer's block. Whatever it is, it slows us down.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. I hear what you're saying & it makes sense .. I have been procrastinating about a few things recently .. and I just need to get on with them .. doing it is better than thinking .. so this would apply to writing too .. the analogy .. stage fright/page fright rings true ... I must keep an eye out for the Courage to Write - it does sound an important read.

Thanks - have a good Thanksgiving .. Hilary

Rayna M. Iyer said...

That definitely sound like an interesting book. Must try and get hold of it, because I have those irrational fears sometimes.

Terry Stonecrop said...

Good point and I like the comparison with stage fright. Food for thought!

Arlee Bird said...

Haven't read that book and as for me there has absolutely been nothing to do with fear that has kept me from writing. My problem has been plain outright laziness.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Holly Ruggiero said...

I think your right procrastination is all about the fear.

Holly Jahangiri said...

Makes sense to me!