Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

― Dale Carnegie

The truth of the matter is we learn by doing. When you were a kid learning to ride a bike, would you sit on the sidelines letting your Dad demonstrate how to ride a bike and then watch him walk away while you were left with a bike you couldn’t possibly handle? I don’t think so.

Writing is like that, too. We each believe we have a story to tell. By the time we get around to writing our story down, we know a lot of words. We know what we want to say, but we usually don’t have the skills to keep a reader engaged for the length of the story. I say usually, because sometimes, and it’s rare, but sometimes there are born story tellers who know instinctively how to do it.

But back to riding a bike. So we wobbled, and occasionally fell down. Sometimes we got hurt and sometimes we didn’t. Some of us got the benefit of training wheels (not me) and learned a little faster or encountered a little more difficulty along the way. But eventually we learned to ride the bike. And then we never had a problem after that , right?

Wrong. The bike for me was freedom on wheels. The ability to escape the mundane and outdistance the dullards of my childhood was pure magic.

But did this mean that I never fell off the bike again? No, it did not.

Just like learning to ride a bike, skills evolve along the way. For most writers, published or aspiring, we continually seek to improve our skill by studying the craft of storytelling, even when we are “born” storytellers. There are many aspects of crafting a great story that come instinctually to us, and we can’t tell how we know. It’s a gut level thing; we just know it’s right.

But most writers, whether they are a natural storytellers or not, continue to study craft. It is usually a career long pursuit.  And don’t discount the knowledge we acquire when we teach others the things we get right.

Getting past doubt and fear and moving into confidence and courage is a worthwhile trip. But you do have to take the all important first step.

Go for it.

 

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