I Am Afraid to Write

I have writing notebooks hidden under my bed. The writing in them spans years of my life; there are many words on the pages.

The thing is…I haven’t looked at them in years. Literally. I am afraid to look at them. I am afraid to remember things I wrote about, things I have long since forgotten. I am afraid of the memories. Most of all, I am afraid of my voice.

I have to wonder, Is writing always like this? If it is, fine. But I am beginning to recognize that I have been afraid of my own voice for years.

When I was younger—a teenager, still—my boss told me I had an advantage over other people because I could actually write. Lately, his words have haunted me more and more, despite the fact that he when he said that, he was referencing my ability to write/catch errors in internet software technical manuals. I think, because that was the context, I’ve been able to ignore what he said for a long time. I don’t know if I can ignore it anymore.

Yesterday in yoga, the instructor used a quote to start class (as is a yoga teacher’s usual wont). She paraphrased the quote, “Never mind what-is. Imagine it the way you want it to be so that your vibration is a match to your desire. When your vibration is a match to your desire, all things in your experience will gravitate to meet that match every time (Abraham Hicks).” The first thing that came to mind, no lie, was “I need to write.” I have all of those journals in a pile beneath my bed. The words are there. The seed is there. The desire and need are there. The ability, apparently, is there.

So now what do I do with it? As I lay in savasana, I tried to quiet my mind, I really did. Instead, I kept thinking about what would happen if I finally gave in to my voice. The image I thought of was this moment at the end of The Fifth Element:


Uncontrollable force

That uncontrollable force is what I am afraid of. I’m afraid that if I allow a small crack in the dam I’ve placed between myself and that creative place in my brain, if I allow myself to look back at those journals, or to start writing in general—I won’t be able to stop the words. I also won’t be able to ignore the memories any longer.

Does that mean I think everything I wrote—or will write—is awesome? Absolutely not. I’m fairly certain that if I look back at those journals, I will pronounce ninety-nine percent of it utter crap.

I think of the confessional poets I love—Sexton, Plath, Olds—and I think of how raw and honest they were. I want to be that honest, to be able to reveal all of the brilliant coruscations and deep gouges of my life—at least I think I do. Then again, I’m afraid of discovering or remembering things I’ve buried in those pages beneath my bed.

And so…I am afraid to write. Now that I’ve come to this realization, I wonder what I will do with it.

10 thoughts on “I Am Afraid to Write

  1. Wow…what an inner earthquake of emotions….you need to write! Your fear is the inspiration. I really relate to the hesitation. I’m kind of there in my own way. However, just a thought…excuse the repetition. For the sake of readers looking for depth…and quality…you need to write. Can’t wait to see more.

    Sent from my iPad


  2. I’m afraid of being afraid for then I would become equivalent to the mass population and thus instead of being a creating vibration I would render myself to not much more than a drag on life itself. the ability to do anything positive is not just a gift to you but it is the gift given through you for the whole of the earth. When in high school I was remembered as the one who sat in the back of the class who stayed in trouble but would not talk…my how that has changed. This is my quote but you may use it and anyone else also may use it for I can give you all I’ve got in conversation yet I will lose nothing for all that is lost is that which I keep to myself. My Quote: ” An introvert of any kind is just an extrovert looking for itself.”.

  3. Forgive me, darling, for not getting to this sooner. I’m not always good at commenting in a timely fashion — but I’m glad that I read this. More, I’m glad that you wrote this.

    There have been times in my life where I was afraid of what I had to say. Afraid to show it. Afraid to let things out. Afraid of what people might find in my words, regardless of what is really there. Because you put the words on the paper, but in a way, a reader breathes a different kind of life into them. I’ll spare you a dissertation on active vs. passive reading. haha

    My point is this: write for you. Write for yourself. Tell your stories. Because you’re the only one who can write them. I get the fear. I get the anxiety. I’ve felt it, too. Sometimes, I’ve let that fear control me. But there’s a moment where you just…take a deep breath and say, “Screw it.” You know what you have to do. You know what’s inside you.

    Tell your stories. They’re yours.

  4. I know how difficult it is to actually sit and write, I’ve got what feels like hundreds of notebooks scattered around, some blank, some filled with writing that I dread to look back on! But it’s like other people said, you’ve got to write for you- even if years later you dread looking back on it 🙂

  5. Forgive me, for this monster long comment. I wanted to edit it, but then realized that it would defeat the whole point of what we’re discussing, right? So, take what you can from my thoughts below. I feel anxious posting, but I’m facing my inner voice. Your post has helped inspire me to write more, by the way.
    I’m of course coming from a kindhearted frame of mind, to clarify. Chin up.

    So what if your previous work is crap? Not everything will be “good” writing. There are many reasons we write. Cleanse our soul, communicate w/ someone by email (bonus points for snail mail), to record a memory, to create a story.

    There’s also free writing; write whatever comes to mind for minutes. It can be about anything. Like you have written about your fear of past works.

    Not everything determines who or what we are as writers.

    I had severe social anxiety (still struggle with it) and I was afraid to start writing a story. It is terrifying to post on the web or show what you’ve written to someone. I don’t always write to be published somewhere.

    Your work doesn’t need to be shared with anyone. Those notebooks are a time capsule of sorts; they show your thought process, passions and technical skills.

    I found a book of poetry from my school years (some from grade 6!), and let me tell you they are quite … cliché, immature, melodramatic… surprisingly some are actually “good”. I love those poems.

    Another treasure I found are my journals from my first year of high school to first year university. I’m 36, so those journals are over 20 years old. Back then I wrote several times a week, and I wrote the exact time along with the date.

    There are also entries from the darkest times of my life ~ suicidal, death of a friend and the like.

    I see it as a celebration of my journey as Me.

    Presently, I’m working on a high school series. Of course I’m incorporating characters based on people I knew. I was going to post it on Wattpad, using the safety net of username anonymity… I haven’t yet, because I like to have my writing edited; rather than just writing off the top of my head. It took me a year to actually sit down and *write*. I had to mull over the ideas and direction I wanted to go.

    I go back and read my earlier scenes and shake my head at the content.

    Some of my past and present journal entries make it into my work. My anxiety, ADHD (*certified, it’s great for story fodder) and otherwise scribbled/typed Stuff are all of value. They speak of The Human Condition.

    Your brain is a fascinating organ; sometimes utter crap comes out on paper/screen. But it’s also this awesome representation how our mind was at work (or not) in a slice in time. How cool is that?

    And hey, if what you have is “bad” writing, edit it, restructure it, transform it. Take bits and pieces or the ideas and weave in into something else.

    Or let it be.

    Take it from someone whose brain is going so fast that people find it annoying or perceive me as an airhead, I empathize with the Facing My Inner Voice.

    I started a blog to cope with the death of my cat (I was with her last 12 hours. Seizing and fading away). It’s morphed into something that’s uniquely me ~ crazy thoughts and deep thoughts… a good spectrum.
    ( LoveYouKitteh.wordpress.com )

    I’m working on setting up some other sites (OMG this Inteweb Thing hurts my head… ang ego) because I’ve finally decided to go into writing as a career. Like Everyone Else. No matter. The Universe *needs* my verbose Awesomesauce.

    I’ll hit a nerve with *someone*.

    Thanks for the motivation to keep on truckin’ with my (scary) journey.

    ~ Maki

  6. Reblogged this on Finding myself and commented:
    This post is filled with so much sadness and it had provoked some thoughts and feelings which I have hidden far away because sometimes I find myself having this great desire and enthusiasm to write but there is so many thoughts rushing through my mind. This thoughts are interwoven with fear of exposing my vulnerability to the world, afraid to open up that personal door for people to know what really lies inside. I guess with time I’m learning to let go being so conscious with everything and doing things which can be considered a bridge to my personal space. Therefore, I also have a blog and I consider it my personal space because it consists of my emotions, thoughts and feelings. I think I’ve taken a step forward with my concern about writing and sharing it with the world.

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