Writing Until Dawn:
Putting Your Fears Down on Paper
Whether you are stumped for something to write about, or you simply have too much to say and don't know where to start, you'll find that there's a lot of material that's just waiting to be mined under your bed or in your closet. When you were a kid, were you afraid of the monsters in dark, or were your fears a lot more practical, involving a bully from down the streets. Fear is something that shapes us; it can be one of the prime motivators in our lives and it can also be something that will work our whole lives to get away from.
Writing about fears that you have experienced is also a good way to engage a reader. One reason why people read is to reassure themselves that they are not alone, and one of the best things that any writer can give a reader is that assurance. So often, fear is something that divides people and separates them. It makes them feel small and vulnerable. There is a great strength in realizing that they are not the only ones who have ever withstood this, though, and that they are not the only person who has suffered from this feeling.
Some people dislike writing about their fears because they think it portrays them in an unattractive light. This is unfortunate, because fear is something that everyone faces, in one form or another. We may not all have the same fears, but the feeling of being afraid is something that anyone will understand. Writing about your fear is a way to open up a connection with your reader. Readers and writers connect on a very basic level when it comes to the things that go bump in the night, so make sure that you can extend this to them.
It is certainly not always easy to write about fear. While it might be simple to write about things like being afraid of falling off a cliff, or of being afraid of not getting into the school that you wanted to get in to, other fears can be a lot more nerve-wracking. For instance, writing about abuse and the fear that goes with it is something that many people find difficult to do. The act of admitting that bad things happened or that bad things could have happened can be extremely stressful and frightening. Perhaps you feel as if admitting this fear would make you too vulnerable, or perhaps this is a part of yourself that you wish would simply cease to exist.
The truth is, fear is a part of your past. The things that you were afraid of shape the person that you are today, as do the things that you did to cope, how you conquered that fear or how you live with it. All of this is important information about you. You would not be the person that you are today without the things that you are and were afraid of, and part of the writing process is understanding yourself a little bit better.
When you are alone, you can start by trying to write about your fear as bluntly as you can. In one sentence, write out the thing that you are the most afraid of. Don't write an explanation around it, or try to use a euphemism. Simply write out a sentence or even a phrase that captures what you are afraid of. Think about that phrase and think about why you feel the way you do. This can be a very difficult experience, but it is a good one to try. Think about how you deal with this fear. Is it one that you have mostly put to rest, or is it one that continues to affect your life to this day? When do you feel this fear the most, and when do you feel the most comfortable with it?
The thing to remember is that fear is not an unnatural thing. Fear is a natural reaction and we have it for a reason. It tells us when something is wrong, and it tells us that something should be changed or adjusted. What has fear motivated you to do? What has fear stopped you from doing? Write out your fear, put it on paper, and then you and your reader both can take a very good long look at it.