I have a beast that lives inside me.
It questions me. Constantly whispers that there is something very wrong.
Something else tells me that to be good at writing, you have to risk everything. Tell the truth. But that can be scary. It’s so much easier to be pretentious, to hide behind something that is not really you, because it’s less risky. There’s less on the line. If people don’t like you, your whole world will not fall apart.
The beast is my greatest weakness. I know, intellectually, that this is stupid, this fear of another person’s opinion. This fear of risk, of failure. But the fear is there, ever present, like a caged beast that shakes the bars just to make its presence known once in a while.
For some reason it helps me feel better just to write about this fear, admit it’s there, this beast, expose it to the light of day. Show everyone, and then lock it back up again. I was going to write about something else, but I couldn’t hear anything over the shaking of the bars. As C.S. Lewis said, “I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand."
Whenever you write, you take a risk. The best writing takes the biggest risks, chances the greatest failures. The irony is you have to allow yourself to fail in order to succeed.
The closer we get to ourselves, to that inner core right down to the level of the beasts—exposing them—the more we allow ourselves to be who we are. Without looking to the world for approval of what’s inside, the more we can become who we were meant to be.
“It’s not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” —Seneca