Writing and the Fear of Commitment

This post could also be titled Don’t Be Afraid to Fall in Love with Your Writing.

I’ve come to believe that one reason we resist getting serious about our writing is a fear of commitment.

Holding Hands

Falling in love is scary. For all of the thrill and romance, we lose a part of ourselves. We are no longer wholly our own, and that’s the way it should be.

Anyone who is around someone else who has fallen in love also knows that the afflicted is “not all here.” Their minds and hearts are split, half in the world where everyone else lives and half entwined with the object of their love. (The photo, above, was taken by my brother Paul Furrey at our son’s wedding last summer.)

Best-selling author Terry Brooks explains why, as a writer, he is “not all here”:

“So what am I talking about when I saw I am not all here? I mean that if you are a writer, you really can’t be. Writers are not all here, because a part of them is always ‘over there’—’over there’ being whatever world they are writing about at present. Writers live in two worlds—the real world of friends and family and the imaginary world of their writing…. Each is compelling in its own way and each makes its demands on a writer’s time.” ~ Terry Brooks, Sometimes the Magic Works, page 5

If we fully commit to our writing, if we allow ourselves to fall in love with and be swept away by it, we also choose to leave a part of this world behind—not all the time, but enough so that we will inevitably miss out in some ways, and our friends and family may not always understand. We will always feel a little torn, a little (or a lot) distracted, and, as with any relationship, misunderstood at times even by the writing we love so much.

The other option is continuing to play it safe.

But, as writer Jeff Goins reminds us, “The world doesn’t need more safe writing. Write something dangerous — something that challenges the status quo. Something that moves you (maybe it will move others, too). Then, no matter how scared you are, share it.”

Today’s question:

Have you experienced fear of full commitment to a writing/creative life?

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