If You Weren’t Afraid

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I snapped this while my husband was driving, kids. Don’t play with your phone and drive.

I was up late editing A Cup of Dust (it’s my new novel, scheduled for release in Fall, 2015 with Kregel Publications). The manuscript is due to the editor on Saturday.

I’ve got plenty of time. Why was I up late?

Because at 9:15 I got scared.

Not stressed or anxious or slap-happy-tired.

I. Was. Afraid.

There was this four line exchange that I found needed a slight change that would necessitate a change in a previous chapter. Nothing big. But I was scared that I was getting it all wrong. That I moved the tension in the wrong way. That I wasn’t being true to my characters.

So, I did what all good writers do. I started drinking.

Coffee. I got a cup of coffee. What did you think I meant?

While my poor hubby snoozed on the couch, I tweaked and tinkered with what I needed to fix.

The fear didn’t stop.

Neither did my fingers.

I jotted notes to myself of things that need to be fixed and prayed like crazy for a little help. I stretched out (sitting all day is a killer) and searched the cupboards for chocolate. I found none. Then I went back and edited a little more until I was out of functioning brain matter.

Facebook is as good a brain numbing device as I’ve got, so I scanned through my feed.

If you were a 70’s song…

Kelly Clarkson’s tattoo!

Jimmy Fallon! Jimmy Fallon! JIMMY FALLON! (seriously, the dude is ALWAYS all over my newsfeed).

Then I got to a status from John Blase. John is a poet and you ought to know-it. He blogs over at The Beautiful Due and is always good for a deep thought or a book recommendation.

John’s status was this: “The fabulous Mary Karr* shared this question on Twitter the other day:
What would you write if you weren’t afraid?”

My thought when I read that status?

I’m pretty ding-dong scared RIGHT NOW….

My answer to Mary and John’s question is this: A Cup of Dust is what I’d write if I wasn’t afraid. And, even though I am terrified in this very moment, I’m still going to finish these edits and turn it in on time and wait to hear from the editor (which is an altogether different brand of fear).

What would YOU write if you weren’t afraid? Are you still brave enough (or, in my case, arrogant enough) to write it anyway?

*Mary Karr is an uber famous, well respected, no nonsense poet, memoirist, and essayist. 

12 Comments on “If You Weren’t Afraid

  1. oh gosh, if I weren’t terrified, I’d give in to those who seem to think I have something to write – and say – that may be helpful for others who also lived through things that I have. I just haven’t been able to say the words yet. Why? Scared!


  2. First, I wrote a book on the occult influences in our society using the lens of my testimony and then a book on spiritual warfare. There are other books rattling around my brain which will require a kind of fearlessness as well. When we write something which matters (to us, to others) it is indeed scary. Always. You are right. There is a certain kind of bravery which will always be required when putting pen to paper and that is what makes writing such an adventure.


  3. I think in writing anything you’ve been thinking about for a while, there is the fear that you will never get it to come out just right, that your readers won’t truly feel the way you do about it, that you won’t be able to evoke the kind of breathless satisfaction that you feel yourself when you read something that just grips you. The book I’m going to start in November has, I think, great potential to say something important and true in a poetic way. But it’s such a process to get there.


  4. If I weren’t afraid, I’d write about truths within the Amish community, and how English and Amish can love one another as children of God. No, not a “bonnet romance”, but an honest portrayal of life in a community where both live side-by-side but are afraid to cross the lines. As I join NaNoWriMo on Saturday, this theme will be developed in my novel.


  5. Pingback: The Muck and the Mud | Susie Finkbeiner

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