[I am very pleased to welcome Christine Fonseca today as she stops by on her blog tour for her latest book, LACRIMOSA. Please scroll to the end for more information about Christine and her work, and leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a ebook version of LACRIMOSA. Welcome, Christine!)
The Act of Being Fearless
By Christine Fonseca
“Creative people, as I see them, are distinguished by the fact that they can live with anxiety, even though a high price may be paid in terms of insecurity, sensitivity, and defenselessness for the gift of the “divine madness” to borrow a term used by the classical Greeks. They do not run away from non-being, but by encountering and wrestling with it, force it to produce being. They knock on silence for an answering music; they pursue meaningless until they can force it to mean.”
~Rollo May, The Courage to Create (Ch 4, page 93)
I thought I’d talk about the act of writing fearlessly. When I was planning out this blog tour, I reached out to my closest writerly friends and asked them what I should talk about. Every one of them said I should talk about writing the dark stuff. When I asked for a little more explanation from one of my friends, she said that she felt like I was willing to “go there” in my stories and should write about that.
Hmm, “go there”. Yea, I really had no idea what that meant. I just wrote the story that wanted to be written. Nothing more.
And then I started to think about it—really think about it. Think about the process of writing, about why I am willing to “go there” as she mentioned. Think about the ways I torture my characters, forcing them—and myself—to look at the harder, darker sides of humanity. And it clicked…
It’s about having the courage to create.
Back in college, I took a lot of philosophy classes. One of them focused on two particular writers, the existential philosopher Paul Tillich, and the existential psychologist Rollo May. Tillich wrote a profound book called The Courage to Be. His student, May, rewrote the same ideals in his The Courage to Create, from which the above quote was taken. Both books resonated with me as they explored what it was to face death—not physical death, but the death of stagnant ideas. The death of old ideas. The death of what is most comfortable, in search of what is most true.
As writers, we must have courage if we are going to write the story that is meant to be written. Not the story we are being “told” to write, not the story we think will sell—but the story we are meant to write. May believed that creativity came directly from the struggle between death and our push against it. I think that is most certainly true.
But how do we muster up the courage to face down our own death, if you will, and write the story begging to be written? How do we embrace our fear and do what we must?
For me, the answer lies in the act of writing itself. Writing through my conflict, my fear, my tension—it is in that moment that the creative process occurs. Within the limits I inflict on myself is where I find my inspiration and the drive to continue through a difficult project.
When I was writing LACRIMOSA there were many moments of struggle; many times when I wasn’t certain I was telling the right story. Countless times when I struggled because of my fear that it wasn’t good enough, that the readers will hate it. In truth, the fear became so strong at one point that I actually shelved the novel. Twice in fact. But the story would NOT die – it just refused. And I am so grateful it persevered and forced me to stick with it, even when I didn’t want to.
So, the next time you find yourself looking for excuses not to write, wanting to scream or throw your laptop because the words won’t come. Stop. Take a breath. And write. Anything. This is the moment of creation. The tension and anxiety, the struggle—that is what will engage your creative mind and bring you to new heights within your writing.
Don’t be satisfied with the mundane or “tried and true”.
Be daring. Be bold. Embrace chaos, death, anxiety…
And GO THERE!
I leave you with one last quote from Rollo May and The Courage to Create:
“Artists are generally soft-spoken persons who are concerned with their inner visions and images. But that is precisely what makes them feared by any coercive society. For they are the bearers of the human being’s age old capacity to be insurgent. They love to immerse themselves in chaos in order to put it into form, just as God created form out of chaos in Genesis. Forever unsatisfied with the mundane, the apathetic, the conventional, they always push on to newer worlds.”
~Rollo May, The Courage to Create, page 32
School psychologist by day, critically acclaimed YA and nonfiction author by night, Christine Fonseca believes that writing is a great way to explore humanity. Her debut YA Gothic series, The Requiem Series, including DIES IRAE and LACRIMOSA, examines the role of redemption, sacrifice and love. Her nonfiction titles include 101 SUCCESS SECRETS FOR GIFTED KIDS and EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS.
When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can be sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or playing around on Facebook and Twitter. Catch her daily thoughts about writing and life on her blog.
For more information about Christine Fonseca or the series, visit her website at http://christinefonseca.com. LACRIMOSA is available in hard copy from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and as an ebook for Kindle and Nook.
Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a free ebook copy of LACRIMOSA!