Fear in Writing and in Life


In honor of Halloween, we’re talking about what we’re afraid of here at The Ball. I suppose we should begin with fear. Fear is a disease. It starts off in one tiny little cell and blooms like black mold feeding on its host, consuming cell after cell until your body is racked with it and you are crippled. Once you let it in, it’s hard to stop it. I’d like to say I’m stronger than that—that fear doesn’t affect me, and certainly doesn’t guide my actions. That’s sometimes true, but often it’s not.

A few of my fears are…


To have a book that flops, despite the love and time I’ve poured into it.

To never land another book deal, thus deflating my writing career.

To write tripe that no one enjoys or is inspired by.

To fail.

To fail.

To fail.

Oh, and there’s more…


The unspeakable—that my children not live healthy, happy lives. Or my darling husband, or me, for that matter.

To not be forgiven for my human failings and character defects.

To lead a life without adventure.

To have regrets.

To lose hope in the beauty around me, in the smallest things.

To slip quietly into the night. Without saying anything of consequence, without touching lives, without shaping the world in some small way, for the better.

When fears threaten to engulf me, I wad them up in a ball, toss them into a pit, and set them on fire. I WORK HARD and LOVE HARD and PLAY HARD, because one day when I stand on the threshold of death, I will look back at those fears and know they are inconsequential—nothing but roadblocks on my path to becoming a better writer, to becoming a better self. And they will lose their gut-wrenching hold and wither away to nothing. So I beat them back NOW, to not allow them to suck the joy from my life. And you, writers, shouldn’t either. Be courageous and go after what you want as if your life depended on it—as if fear did not exist.

Author: Heather Webb

Heather Webb is the author of BECOMING JOSEPHINE, her debut historical (Plume/Penguin 2014). A freelance editor and blogger, she spends oodles of time helping writers hone their skills—something she adores. You may find her Twittering @msheatherwebb, hosting contests, or hanging around RomanceUniversity.org as a contributor to the Editor's Posts. She is also the Twitter mistress for the popular Writer Unboxed. She loves making new reader and writer friends. Stop on by her website, Between the Sheets!

13 Replies to “Fear in Writing and in Life”

    1. Thank you, Vaughn. I suppose success lies in the eye of the beholder. It’s that old schoolmarm in my head, constantly rapping my knuckles and telling me to work harder! But I must say that I’m utterly grateful for all I’ve been given and achieved. Happy Halloween to you. 🙂

  1. Really beautiful post, Heather. We share pretty much the same fears, as I’m sure many of us do, because I think in the end all humans want/fear the same things. We all need a a reminder like this one every once in a while.

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