Why to write is so scary?

Romell Avendaño
7 min readMay 9, 2024

Sometimes pen and paper are more scary than the sword.

Image from ChatGPT4

I’m far from being a professional writer, I don’t even consider myself an amateur. At most I would say I am an insistent writing enthusiast.
Nothing more, nothing less.

I had written some short texts, one post here and another there, nothing regularly. Some for internet but most for myself in form of journal or Morning Pages. I have a lot of them.

So, a couple of days ago I found an old journal with this personal quote between its pages:

Capture from my personal Obsidian Vault. The original comes from one of my journals.

I wrote this at some point in 2017, and even today, seven years later, I still struggle with writing. However now I can do it more frequently, though not regularly, and even so, for me this is a huge advance.

So, what changed?

At some point I began to recognize my own personal writing fears that terrified me for years from taking up pen and paper (or the keyboard) until they left me voiceless.

So I decided to confront one fear at a time, taking my time to really know each one, as if participanting in a dating game. Knowing and facing your fears, is crucial if you want to defeat them or at least change the rules of the game.

Here are some, yep some, of my writting ghosts…

The criticism

Image from ChatGPT4

I have fought a lot with this over the years, indeed I still do. This fear seizes every opportunity to tell me that I not good enough to be a writer. And I’m not talking about becoming the next Ken Follet, J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, no. I’m talking about anything, from attempting to write my first Best Seller to creating a simple manual on “How to use a blender?” which nobody will read (or need).

This fear says things like: Who would want to read this sh**? Were you the fastest spermatozoid? Really? They’re going to laugh at you…don’t you have any shame? I’m immediately think and reply: Who is “they”? It is an specific person? A group of academics from Hardvard? My ex? The world? I don’t think any Nobel Price of Literature is sitting at their laptop waiting to destroy my next writing or post, and if that ever happens, I would be flattered.

For me the reality in this point (and with luck) is that my article or post will read by a couple of friends, some followers, a bunch of strangers and one or two relatives. That’s all! And that for me is enough, in fact is EXCELLENT that somebody that I don’t know can read what I wrote and said: “Mmmm this is interesting!” or “Dawmmmm I lost five minutes of my life in reading this!”.

The truth is, even a bad feedback is so much better than no feedback at all and ultimately is this that helps me a lot with my writing process.

So, the next time this fear shows up, confront it and reply: “Hey! Shut up! Let me work! Go away!” or any stronger phrase from your own repertory. And start to write!

And remember, this fear actually lives inside of you, in your head, and sometimes in your heart. So, be loving and kind to yourself while you’re struggling with this.

Lack of words

Image from ChatGPT4

I usually struggle with myself to find the correct words. I mean, the words that show how intelligent I am or demonstrate the high level of my vocabulary. So, if I have a large vocabulary I must be an amazing writer, right?
Pleeeaseeeee….

Searching for fancy or technical words often results in losing and the essence of my narrative, my story.

Like a song, writing must be harmonic, transmitting ideas, sensations, feelings, fears or love; and doing this in your first draft is almost an illusion.

So, I when I write, I do so without worrying too much about finding the perfect words, that comes later, when I read aloud what I wrote and exclaimed, “WTF!”

There’s an interesting quote from Photography by Henri-Cartier Bresson, an amazing photographer, who said:

Your first 10.000 photos will be the worst.

I like to apply this idea to writing, the idea of finding those words through practice and persistence.

I know that my writing may lack of vocabulary, or narrative coherence, or specific structure, or whatever, remember that I not a professional writer, and that’s ok for me, It means, there’s a lot I don’t know, and that’s where my learning and grow live.

So, don’t worry about your “lack of vocabulary”, instead be graceful for it because it’s an excellent opportunity to learn.

Think in it this way: even a kick in the a** can throw you forward. ;)

Nothing to say

Image from ChatGP4

“My life is so boring that I don’t think there’s anything interesting to say.” If you’ve ever thought that, let me tell you that you’ve been lying to yourself. Every person has a story to tell, everyone has different situation, different background, different experiences, things that you’ve never imagined.

You are unique. We are unique.

So, why do you think that your personal story or ideas are worthless?

Maybe your story about how your adopted your dog can motivated others to do the same. Or that short story in your head could be the first step of your first novel or ebook. Or that review about vegan recipes can lead others to a healthier lifestyle. Your experiences studying, travelling, cooking, running, playing video games, writing, helping or engaging in any other activity are invaluable to others, at the same time that others stories are invaluable to you, and me.

We tent to normalize what happens in our lives, often mechanically, allowing routine blind us to our wonderful and unique lives.

So, wake up, and recognize the things that make you unique. I can guarantee that someone will be amazed (and grateful) for your story.

When you view it in this way, you will discover that you have a lot to say and much to write about.

Showing yourself

Image from ChatGPT4

For me, this is the scariest from all of them, and maybe its for you too.

Writing is one of the most personal and challenging activities that you can do. For some an act of generosity, for others an act of selfishness.

The truth is that regardless of your motivations, it feeds on us as a vampire, on who we are, past, future, what was and what will never be, to expose you as an open book. It’s as if someone inside you takes the control when you feel the pen and paper (or keyboard) in your hands.

Are these your silent thoughts, your inner child or voice, your conscience, or maybe your soul ?. Call it what you want, but its force is so strong that it makes you to show yourself, writing that short horror story that even you were amazed by when finished, or that beautiful story about forgiveness from your childhood memories that you wish to share.

I don’t know where this voice comes from, but showing it to others, to an audience, to family members, to strangers and even to oneself makes us feel complete, know ourselves better, fills something in our being, and helps us become part of others.

And this, of course, is scary.

I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to dive into this reading. Your support means a lot, and I’m genuinely thrilled you’re a part of this journey. 😊 😎 🪐

Your thoughts, opinions, and feedback are invaluable to me. I’d love to hear what resonated with you or any ideas you might have. So, don’t hesitate to drop a comment or reach out — let’s keep the conversation going!

I’m writing from a country that isn’t part of the Medium program, so I write purely for the joy of sharing and helping others. If you’ve enjoyed my work and feel inclined to support me, buying me a coffee would be a wonderful way to do so and would mean a lot to me. Thank you!

All the images in the document, were generated with ChatGPT4 in a minimalist, Victorian style.

Why? Just for fun 🙃

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Romell Avendaño

Life is a DIY project, that's why I write about technology, innovation, productivity and more. Also I'm Obsidian Fan and I assure you I'm not a robot) 🤖