Adrift in The Artist's Studio

Adrift in The Artist's Studio
"More Color! More Color!"

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Courage to Write

You wouldn’t necessarily think courage has much to do with writing, would you? Seems like writing has more to do with intellect, introspection, imagination and storytelling. All true… but what about courage?

Courage, and its opposite discouragement, are two ends of a continuum that is very much a part of the writing process. In fact the argument could be made that courage is the engine that drives the writing process, as the heartbeat drives the heart and makes the blood flow. Personally, I’d have to agree with such an argument, and not only because I’m the guy who’s making it right now.

Courage, simply put, can mean the difference between getting words down on paper… and not.

How? you may ask. Don’t you just hold a pen, or sit at the computer, and write? Yes… and no. Sometimes we writers sit and stare at a blank page, or the blinking cursor, and we are afraid of what will come out. We might fear that it will sound too stupid, or clumsy, or self-revealing. We may be afraid of writing badly.

The whole point here is that discouragement and fear can prevent us from putting words on the page. Fear may disguise itself as procrastination.

My solution: just slap something down on paper. As my old Physiology prof used to say, “Don’t get it right, get it written.” That is one of the most profound lessons I took away from the university. It’s one well worth remembering, as a mantra against fear.