Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Keyes' Courage to Write

In Ralph Keyes’ book, The Courage to Write, he asserts that the difference between those who succeed as writers and those who fail resides in who is willing to walk through the fear of writing. If fear alone made a successful writer, I might be the greatest writer of our age.

It is encouraging to think that many successful writers experience a measure of fear regarding their writing. Even better is gaining an understanding that successful writers turn their fear into fuel for their work.

I’ve noticed that it is easier for me to write something when I feel strongly about it. Fear, anger, excitement are easier to express than indifference, routine or boredom.

Keyes also says that the most successful writers are not always the most gifted. He quotes numerous professionals in the writing field who demonstrate that it is tenacity rather than talent that will often reward a writer with success. Barbara Horngren, a Southern California-based travel writer, once told me as much. Pointing out a feature article in the travel section of the Orange County Register, she said that the writer of the article was known in the field for his quantity rather than his quality.

Well, it’s somewhat comforting to know that I don’t need to worry so much about being a good writer. But the notion of tenacity is one I have known and applied in other areas of my life. In most of my aspirations, it’s a matter of knocking on enough doors or worrying a knot until it loosens enough to easily unravel. Tenacity, patience and desire. I have them all. Fear? Yes. That too. Guess I am a writer.

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