Being Brave

Sometimes, we forget that writing takes bravery… Yes, we all know that reporters sometimes reuqire bravery. But what about fiction writers? Poets? Technically, we’re just putting words on a page— or even a screen, now a days. How on earth can that require bravery?


The thing is, if people don’t want to understand, they never will. But writing does take bravery. Anytime you commit a part a part of yourself to the arts, you are leaving yourself open. Even if you never plan to publish, or show your art work. Because although we would probably love to, we don’t live or work in a vacuum. Someone, somewhere, at sometime is going to see your work. It’s life.

And we want someone to see our work. Someone to say “Oh, that is wonderful!”

Because it has so much of ourselves in it, when they don’t say that, when they think it needs work, reject it, I can still remember vividly the feeling in the pit of my stomach when classmates stole my notebook and were playing keep away with it, while reading aloud parts of it. It’s a feeling that makes you want to sink into the ground, let it swallow you and your shame whole because there is nothing, nothing more humiliating.

Except that, of course, there is.

Writing is a part of life. It’s where we bundle up our thoughts, our hopes, our fears… everything and throw them into the wind. Sometimes, i write to get something out of my system. As a teenager, I was famous for writing a story and blowing up a person with whom I was angry. What I’m working on now is my way of working out both the demise of my marriage, and the road that we are traveling with my son’s Dyspraxia.

I’m a writer. When writing fiction, i have a way with words (i kind of write on here like I talk… all over the place LOL). I think I can entertain people, make them think, make them gasp. Although I turned my back on it for too many years, I have it back.

So. Fear is real. Being brave is doing something even though you are afraid.

I found a market for a short story– a call for submissions for an anthology. At first, I wasn’t going to. Not one little bit. Because the funding was being crowd sourced, it made me a little antsy. But then I did some digging on who was being included, who had written the introduction/forward… and then I didn’t want to do it because I was just plumb terrified.

These people have published a lot. I’ve published one measley story. One of them… I’ve seen his books in the store. I’ve picked them up.

How can I submit to this anthology now?

How could I not?

I don’t think I’m at that caliber yet. But you know what? Maybe I’m not the best judge of my own writing. Maybe it is good enough. Maybe I’ll never know unless I try.

It was so hard to press the send button on that email. SO HARD!

But, you know… My friend Rie has been writing and submitting like a fiend this year. She’s gotten a lot of rejections… and for a while I think it was discouraging her. But she’s also gotten a lot of acceptances. That keeps her moving forward,

I may start with a ton of rejections. But I’ve already gotten an acceptance. A paid acceptance! Yes, it was last year. However, it is also proof positive that I risked and won. I can do that again.

and again

and again

You get the picture.

How about you? Are you brave in your writing, throwing it out there for the world to see? Or your art– what ever it might be. Do you play an instrument? Do you play for family and friends, for church, in private only for yourself?





One thought on “Being Brave

  1. Really nice post. It’s an interesting question: do we write for ourselves or for others? I play an instrument and I notice that it differs from case to case. Sometimes I’ll be playing the guitar and someone will walk in the room and my playing will instantly sink lower, as though I’m deliberately trying not to impress, or attract attention, while other times (when I’m totally in the zone) I won’t care when someone is nearby, and might even proudly show off what I was playing. I definitely play and write for myself first and for others second. I don’t create with the intention of never sharing it with the world, but I initially create it with the intention of it being just for me, and I like to believe this makes it more pure in some way.

    If I’m writing something I don’t like people reading over my shoulder as I don’t think what I have written can be read until I allow it to be. It is a (temporarily) private expression of my true and hidden self, and so it needs time to unravel and complete itself before it can be released into the world. By the way, here are a couple of links that will help you get more of your work published, it’s a list of magazines that publish short fiction, and another list of writing competitions!

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