How I Stopped Being Afraid

Writing has consumed my life for its entirety. I can’t even begin to tell you how many different notebooks I have gone through – a new one for each story idea, of course. I fell in love with world-building and meeting characters that appeared to me out of thin air. At some point, poetry entered my life and I was inspired by relationships, breakups, and the love and emotions in between.

And all of these years, I can count on two hands the people that I have allowed to see my writing. Never my family, not even some of my closest friends that I trust with everything.

It’s not that I was ashamed of my writing. I was proud of what I had the ability to create.

I think that the biggest fear I had was judgment.

Now, I have never been a person who is constantly worried about what others think about them. I take pride in who I am and I will never change who I am to please anyone.

But something about my writing changed that. Maybe because I wasn’t confident that my story ideas were good. Maybe because my poetry was so intimate and about relationships that were meant just for me. Whatever the reasoning, I was afraid that people would judge me for what I wrote. Since I was living with these people, seeing this people everyday, that stopped me from sharing. And I became accustomed to it – it was second-nature to deny people from reading or asking about it.

I stopped talking about it too.

I was never afraid of saying that I loved to write, but I never elaborated on it. And looking back, that makes me a little sad because writing is something that brings me so much joy and I shouldn’t feel the urge to keep it a secret.

Then I read a book. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, to be exact. And it truly spoke to me. Gilbert touched upon so much about creativity, writing, and common thoughts behind the process and it resonated with me so much that I bought my own copy after reading a library version first.

The quote below was the one that stood out to me the most.

Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that – merely by being here – you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.

Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of Big Magic

As someone who loves to write and does write, it means that I am a writer. There is no denying that fact. I think I just needed someone to give me that push. The encouragement to know that I can have my own voice and not have to worry about what anyone thinks of it. Gilbert mentioned later in her book that “the outcome doesn’t matter” – and that message makes the fear of sharing my writing go away. If you are not afraid of the outcome, of the opinions of your readers, of the potential critiques or reviews, then there is no barrier holding you back from sharing what you love best. Just know that you are writing for you and no one else – as long as you are happy with what you are creating, it does not matter what others think. Maybe you gain some success or followers who love it too, but that’s just an added bonus.

Write for yourself, for your own happiness or sanity or whatever emotion it evokes, but make sure it’s your own. Then you can have no regrets and no fear.

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