13. Just Write It
Ever thought, “I could never publish this while my mother’s alive” or “in a magazine where someone who knows me could see it” or “because my kids would think I was a monster”? Or maybe “I’m not telling the full story because it would hurt X, so I’m only going to tell this small part [which is not really a story but a tantalizing yet unsatisfying crumb]”?
Write it anyway.
I said write, not publish. Too often we leap ahead to the nightmare scenarios—“Everyone will see it and never speak to me again!”—that scare us off from the story that wants to be written. Funny how we seem to assume our most sensitive, potentially hurtful stories WILL be published—yet are plagued with doubt that anyone will be interested in the equally well-written but non-life-ruining ones.
Write it, then decide if you even want to seek publication. Maybe you’ll feel more confident once you put the words down and get feedback from readers you trust. Or perhaps you’ll decide you were right all along and aren’t ready to go public. But here’s the thing: You can learn something from writing it—about both the story and writing itself.
So write it. It won’t be wasted time.