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Late last spring, I came up with an idea for a new book. It was an ambitious idea, different from anything I’d written in a long time, and required a lot of world-building. As in, an entirely new planet, species and language, kind of world-building.
I’ll admit, it intimidated me. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. But I liked the idea, and I had a feeling that I may even be able to love the idea if I dove in headfirst, and after plotting it, I knew that if I somehow managed to pull it off, it might even be good.
So I started writing. Tentatively, at first. I called it an experiment and tested the waters and told myself that if it didn’t work out, it was fine. It was just testing an idea.
When I hit 10,000 words, I knew I had to make a commitment. This wasn’t just a little experiment anymore—if I continued down this road and fully committed myself to the project, I could have a completed draft in a matter of weeks.
It still scared me. I still worried that I wouldn’t do the story justice, that I’d lose interest or confidence in the story halfway through. I hated the idea that I may hit 20 or 30k and realize it was wrong, as I had done with an ambitious project in the past.
But despite my nervousness, I made it official and told Twitter I was working on an actual WIP. Which made it official to me, at least.
Now several months and drafts later, I’m starting to think this WIP may be the best MS I’ve ever written. I love the story, the characters, the world that I was terrified to create. I love the plot, every jerk character or snarky line, you guys, I’m a tad bit obsessed with this WIP. And I love it.
But had I allowed my fear to stop me from writing it to begin with, had I given in to the voice that whispered it won’t be good enough, I never would have fallen in love with my new characters and world. I would have missed out on several weeks of absolute joy while first drafting and revising.
I’m not saying this MS is going to be The One—I have no idea what will happen from here. But regardless of what does or doesn’t happen with this WIP, I am so grateful for the experience. And even if the only ones who ever read it are my CPs, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I’d heard writers say you should write what scares you, and it always seemed like a nice idea. But now that I’ve experienced it myself, I can tell you with absolute confidence that the fear is worth it. Acknowledge it, accept that your project makes you a little nervous, then write it anyway.
Because at the end of the road, when you’ve conquered your fear and have a shiny new WIP to boot, the feeling of accomplishment and wonder makes it all worth it.
Are you or have you ever written something that scared you?
Don't let fear paralyze your words. Writing what scares you might just lead to your best work yet. (Click to tweet)
Have you ever written something that scared you? Writer @Ava_Jae shares her experience with fear and writing. (Click to tweet)