Writer’s Notebook: What Are You Afraid Of?

What do you fear? I don’t mean your character. I mean what are you afraid of? Do you have a list? I will share some of mine.

Being lonely forever
Getting married and being horrible at it. (This is probably silly, but I don’t like sharing my space with other people for long periods of time, so who knows.)

Those two seem to contradict each other. But we as human beings sometimes have conflicting fears. This could be the case for your character too. I am a firm believer in the more we know about ourselves the better writers we can be. Let’s take the fear of being a horrible wife.

What contributes to this fear? The fact that my parents are divorced. The fact that I am not romantic. The fact that I have a hard time sharing my space with someone. That the divorce rate is scary. That I’m imperfect and so will my future Mr.

What makes it silly? I am a loving and supportive person. That I don’t jump into things at all. That I know how to care about someone. That I am forgiving. That I know how to ask for forgiveness. I am not arrogant. I can cook fried chicken. (I don’t see my Mr. Right being a vegan but who knows.)

So maybe I won’t be a horrible wife. Maybe I will realize my challenges and use this knowledge to become an amazing wife. I might even be an amazing girlfriend before I get married. Maybe I will learn make adjustments. I might even like having someone in the bed with me every night.

Now how can I use this in my writing? I can look at my character’s fear. Where did it come from? Why is it realistic? Why is it silly? Does she know where her insecurity originates? Does she know how to improve it? Is she willing? Chances are she will be willing to work on her insecurity in your story, especially if she is the protagonist. However, maybe this willingness comes with no clear path as to improvement. Or maybe the path is clear, but the struggle is real.

Sit down, write out some of your fears, and complete this exercise. Maybe you will find that your fears are silly. Maybe they are well founded. Perhaps they lie somewhere in between. It might even be therapeutic for you.

Talk to me,


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