I’m not sure if I live up to Eleanor Roosevelt’s charge or not, but I think I come close in some way most days. Some days, the thing that scares me most is getting out of bed. Depression and anxiety can easily hold me hostage unless I push hard against them, so staying in bed can appear like a viable option often, when it really should not be.

It’s also frightening to face a blank page at my writing desk. I write towards many contest and publication deadlines, and frequently, that means starting over from scratch to create something I feel is worthy of submitting. A blank page can be daunting. 

Almost as daunting as the hundreds of pages already hammered out that I must keep revisiting to edit and revise my short story collection, which feels like it’s going nowhere fast. Feeling like I’m writing in quicksand is beyond frightening, and frustrating, too – I want to finish, but there’s so much to do, and I’m doing it more-or-less alone. Then there are the prospects of figuring out how to arrange the stories within the collection into some semblance of order, whether chronologically or by characters’ ages, or some other way that comes to me in an Ambien-laced stream of consciousness late at night, ways that may not seem logical (even to me) until the whole thing is finished and I start assembling and disassembling it to see what works or what doesn’t work in the end. This sense of “not knowing” is also scary. 

Writing is hard. And yes, it is often fraught with fears for me. Yet it is what I love doing more than anything (except listening to 80s music, which I sometimes try to do while writing, to calm my nerves a little). To confront it daily, though, head-on and fingers firmly on the keys with thoughts flowing freely, ready to be captured into stories and poems, moments trapped in time, is how I want to spend the rest of my life. Scary or not. Maybe that makes me some sort of twisted thrill-seeker. Maybe that’s what all writers are in the end.