“Why are ye so fearful? How is it ye have no faith?”
Many people believe that the opposite of faith is unbelief—not so. The opposite of faith is fear. Faith is crucial to success as a writer. You must believe in yourself before anyone else will. That is not to say that you must believe that you have just written the next great American novel to be a successful writer. Numbers are not the entire story—they are not even the main plot.
The chief goal of a writer is to deliver his/her soul onto the page. If this post sounds a bit like a sermon, well, that’s where I learned about putting one’s soul into one’s work. It’s also where I learned to step out from the crowd and declare, “this I believe”. If that idea scares you, by all means, run and hide. If, however, you are prepared not only to expect more of yourself but to demand more of yourself than you ever thought you could give—you might be ready to write.
Fiction is about creating worlds strange and familiar, heroes and villains, pain and joy, right and wrong. All of these things are drawn from the same well and with each drop, a bit of the author splashes onto the page. It’s a fearful thing to expose your innermost thoughts and feelings for all to see. It is not for the faint of heart.
Conformity to the newest trends and socially acceptable tropes may garner more sales. Is that the price of your soul? Make no mistake, that is what we are talking about here. Writing demands the writer pass through burning zeal, confusion of thought, deadly silence, and unexpected discovery on the way to The End. Even that is not truly the end. By faith, you must walk away unafraid and with the certain knowledge that you have left your heart, mind, body, and soul on the page.