Writing: An act of courage?

And the full quote: “If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as  an act of courage.” Cynthia Ozick


But wait a minute. That’s not courage, is it?

  1. the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.

I just feel embarrassed about the idea that to write you need courage. You need courage in Syria, in Ukraine, if you’re fighting a destructive illness, if you’re being tortured or persecuted. But to write?

I’m ashamed.

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But you should have seen me yesterday, before I started working on the theatre piece I’d neglected for so long.

There was fear. First of all, fear that I’d lost the document file when I’d changed over computers. (I hadn’t!) Fear that what I’d already written was no good. Fear that I wouldn’t be able to think what to write next. Fear of letting people down. Fear of looking like a complete idiot.

Fear…my writing companion.

Here’s what Steven Pressfield asserts in his book  The War of Art – (Break through your blocks and win your inner creative battles).”Resistance is fear. But resistance is too cunning to show itself naked in this form. Why? Because if Resistance lets us see clearly that our own fear is preventing us from doing our work, we may feel shame at this. And shame may drive us to act in the face of fear.”

Good old shame!

If I had to say what writing is, I would have to define it essentially as  an act of shame.

And maybe a little bit of courage too?

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By the way, once I’d battled with my demons, I liked what I’d written, I could see where to go next, I was inspired.

When will I ever learn? When will I evvvverrrr learn? (Preferably sung by Pete Seeger).

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