Face your fears or hide from them?

face your fearI used to love Stephen King novels – from the first time I found his book of short stories I was hooked, and devoured many a large tome.

Then I had a baby.  Suddenly I couldn’t bear any kind of tension, let alone the kind of emotions inspired by King.  Whereas before I would look for the thrills, now I cowered away from them.

Now I turn to writing for myself, and I find the same reaction.  I struggle to find something meaningful to write, because the things that mean something feel too painful.

How do horror writers cope?  Does writing about what you fear reduce the fear?  Or does it make it feel closer to home?  Do you have to go through the same fear as the characters?

For example, the prompt for today is an afternoon nap.  I find my muse whispering over my shoulder telling me that it’s about an exhausted mother who falls asleep while her baby has her nap, and when she wakes up something bad has happened to the baby.  The muse keeps suggesting all sorts of things that could have happened, and I keep telling her to shut up because I just don’t want to go there.  I’m not sure I can go through the experience of writing that and still feel safe in myself.  And yet the muse is also assuring me that if I do, then because I’m feeling what I write it will be more powerful.

I also wonder if it would be therapeutic – if exploring the possibilities and facing them would make me feel better, more comfortable with the ideas.  If opening the closet and peering inside would release the boogeyman or make him melt away.

I feel like I’m peering into an abyss here.


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  1. I understand how you feel. Having a baby changes your whole world and how you look at it. I have 3! When I read all the things that happen to characters enter my head as that could potentially happen to me or my children. It is not a good way to live, not in fear. So I say, face your fears, and enjoy the life you have! Let your creativity flow free and tell yourself it is just fiction. =)

    • Thank you! Trouble is that I’m still haunted by those damn children’s stories – see previous post. Convinced that the moment I write about something bad I’ll automatically bring it down on myself as retribution. Think I might try with something small, see how it goes 😉

  2. every mum I know at somepoint has the road dream..the one where they have just started toddling around and somehow toddle off into the road and nearly every single one has leapt to save there infant with various results some pounced on unsuspecting sleeping hubbys and pulled the across the bed i dove towards the bedside table and bashed my head and my other halfs mum told me with him that she actually leapt out of bed and landed in a pile on the floor halfway across the bedroom. the fears are normal and if you can face your fears to write it you will find a lot of mums will relate to it. my main nightmare theme involves my son falling from ridiculous heights I say ridiculous as I am scared of heights and not likely to be in any of the situations I have dreamed of

    • hehe can’t say I’ve had that one, but possibly because my mind comes up with too much of that sort of thing while awake? I have tripped over in my sleep though and disturbed hubby that way.
      Yeah, I think it will produce writing people can relate to, I’m just concerned over what it will do to me – will it make me feel better or worse? Although I’m starting to realise that all powerful affective writing must be produced by people who are affected by it themselves, if you see what I mean. It’s taking the courage to open the box and let all the fears out to play.

  3. Ahhhhh, you bought the book! 🙂

    I describe myself as a riches to rags kind of writer, my stories always end up with something bad happening to people. Yesterday’s prompt about the nap ended up being a story about a guy who fell asleep at his desk at work and because all the other people in the office don’t like him they just left him there, at his desk, when the fire alarms went off. Not sure how it’s going to end yet 😉

    When I write about subjects I’ve experienced, that touch a raw nerve, yeah, it does actually upset me while I’m writing it, and there are some subjects that I can’t write about full stop. But, I hope to be able to one day. I think it can be therapeutic, especially if you can play out a different ending to an experience you actually had.

    As for horror…I was exactly the same, use to love it before I had kids, but not anymore lol



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