“To live a creative life we must first lose the fear of being wrong.”

I think this quote, by Joseph Chilton Pearce, translates well into all areas of our lives. With so much pressure to succeed, to win and to be permanently right, it is an invigorating and refreshing thing not to fear failure. There is nothing wrong with being wrong, except being frightened of it. We fail so that we learn. This knowledge and understanding develops us (and our writing) so that with every mistake we become more experienced and more adept.

Our lives depend on these mistakes. They humble us, so that we don’t overreach ourselves. They teach us, so that we become wiser. They show us that when things go wrong, we need only pick ourselves up and write about it, in order to carry on.

Every day we make decisions. Some of these are as simple as what we’re going to eat for breakfast, or what we would like to watch at the cinema. Others are more obviously life-changing. It is important that, no matter what, we take these decisions in our strides. Some people live their whole lives in fear of embarrassing themselves, or seeming wrong. It is this fear that holds them back, not the being wrong itself. Even a seemingly wrong decision opens up new avenues with new opportunities for us to take. We are always moving forwards, always.

So go, be brave, live and write. What else is there to do?

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Joseph Pinto says:

    Excellent post, Tom, & this one hits home. For the longest time, I chose, even when I did have the time to write, NOT to write, for fear of failure at what I loved the most. It was an irrational fear of failing at the simple act of writing itself…that no words would come from the well when I needed to draw upon it. I wasted a good deal of my time being a coward in that sense. And looking back on it now, it most certainly was a big mistake. But as you said, our lives depend on our mistakes. I’ve finally stopped lamenting about how I lost precious writing ‘years’ then & focus on the hunger & edge it’s provided me now. Some things must come in their own due time. Writing, & the developing maturity as a writer, is one of those things.

    Thank you for reminding me that I shouldn’t look back on what was lost.

  2. zkullis says:

    Yes, I agree with you (and Joseph). Fear can be debilitating if we allow it. It is one of the biggest self-imposed restraints we can use.

    But, it can also be one of our greatest teachers. Struggle and hardship are similar. They can build us and make us stronger if we allow them.

    I struggle with fear when it comes to my writing as well. My fear is that people won’t find the same kind of emotion and gut-wrenching reactions that I try to put into words. It can drive me to improvement, or like you and Josephhave already said, it can cripple me if I let the fear consume me.

    Fear should be the emotion my writing ilicits from my readers, and not the emotion my writing ilicits from me.

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