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on having something to say

My overriding fear, in terms of writing career aspirations, is that I actually have nothing to say. I visualize myself finally quitting my job, being faced with free time and a blank page, and then...nothing. What if, after all my time and energy spent moaning about how I despise being a lawyer, it was my only source of inspiration? What if it turns out that all that I had bubbling up inside me waiting to be expressed were complaints about my job? And what if the only thing fueling my creativity was negativity, such that contentment brings me nothing but mental complacency?

This fear is bolstered by the fact that, when provided with the opportunity of uninterrupted free time, I often run from the blank page. Could my rug be vacuumed? Is there a speck of dust on the stairs? Does the internet have stupid gossip about reality tv "stars" whose shows I don't watch? Those all miraculously seem pretty pressing to me when I could, instead, be writing.

When I search down to the root of it, still my thoughts and really turn inward, I know that it's not true that my only creative well is my career unhappiness. I can reach out to the objective truth that I have written so much over time that is unrelated to lawyering. I have a million posts on now-defunct blogs about anything from fashion to human rights. I have a spreadsheet full of stories that are in varying states of completeness.

The actual fear is, instead, that nothing I have written is compelling enough to go anywhere. That I have a million mediocre thoughts and ideas. That writing about being an unhappy lawyer is the low-hanging fruit that I know strikes a chord in a lot of people, and that my writing outside of that genre will never connect with anyone or go anywhere. Fear of failure is really what keeps me away from the blank page.

What keeps you from chasing your dreams?


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