I’m afraid of the power of my writing

This fear comes in two ways:

I’m afraid that my writing isn’t powerful enough, that I’ll seek to evoke a reaction and fall short. I remember as a child, an English assignment we were set. I decided I wanted to write about my cat, who had just been run over, and it was the first time that I really, truly wanted to do the best piece of work I could, so that I could convey my feelings over accurately and make the reader feel the same pain. I think it fell far short.

So I hold back from writing, fearful that I will never do true justice to the ideas in my head.

But I’m also afraid that my writing will be too powerful. Certain subjects frighten me, because I’m afraid that writing them would make them come true – anything happening to children, for example. It’s that strange fear that writing about it will make it happen. And yet that sort of writing is likely to be more successful simply because it taps into my emotions.

So where do you find the balance? Where do you find something to write about that you feel deeply enough about that the words flow well, but that doesn’t rip your heart out at the same time? How do you write about nasty things happening to good people without feeling shame and guilt? How do you pour your soul into your writing without diminishing it?

Ah well, this is one thing I intend to spend the summer finding out.


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