Fear is pervasive. It doesn't just stand in that no man's land between life and death. Fear is stage left when the guitarist tunes up, when the actor dresses for opening night. Fear is skulking in the hedgerow when the farmer puts his crops in the ground. Fear strikes at the contractor's heart when the housing market tumbles.
Like all of them, I'm afraid of failing. And failing at writing, to me, is the most personal kind of failure imaginable. Writing for anyone but myself is like giving away my battle plans. Everything anyone could ever want to use against me is right there in my own words, all of my vulnerabilities typed in concise English. If I fail at writing, I've put those vulnerabilities on display for no reason.
Lately, I've gotten better at overcoming that fear. I don't seek validation for what I've written. I don't check the metrics on this blog. I don't worry about people understanding what I've done. Writing is a practice. There's no run-up to a final game, or a test. Every day is an exercise. Every day is work, just for work's sake.
I do this because this is who I am. I look forward to the day when I put the words THE END at the bottom of this manuscript. And I look forward to the day after when I start the next one.