Scared Wordless

I have to start a new book today, and it scares me to death. I'm constantly petrified by my lack of discipline and creativity. One help has been Ralph Keyes' The Courage to Write : How Writers Transcend Fear (Owl Books, 2003). Along with providing practical tips on how to use fear to GET GOING, Keyes recounts the idiosyncracies and strange rites of other terrified writers. California poet Joaquin Miller had a sprinkler installed above his home because he could only compose poetry to the sound of rain on the roof, and playwright Friedrich Schiller wrote with his bare feet in cold water to keep himself focused. Reading how authors like Annie Dillard (scanned the index of first lines in poetry anthologies) and Willa Cather (read Bible passages) overcame fear brings inspiration and comfort to any writer ... even to a Bengali girl cowering on the fire escape.

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