Finding the Courage to Write
“I worry that I’m not good enough,” says Joy Bautista Collado, although she can’t define precisely why. “I need courage.”
And, even though other people encourage her to write, she doesn’t try to publish much because of her fear. “My biggest insecurity,” the writer from the Philippines confides, “is that English isn’t my first language and I’m afraid that I’ll get criticized because of that.” Joy has this fear even though her command of English sounds perfectly fine to me – and even though she is fluent in two other languages (which is more than most of us can say!): Filipino and Ilocano, a local dialect that is as different from Filipino, she explains, as English is from Mandarin Chinese.
Some of her fear arises, she believes, from hurtful comments made about an article that she wrote three years ago about chairs in bars. “I did research,” she says, “but I didn’t do enough.” Joy would like to write memoir material but, for that, she needs to “save up more courage.” Ironically, the one type of writing that she finds liberating is to write about her fears.
Meanwhile, writer Nida Sea confesses something that held her back from writing much for two and a half years: the need to interview sources. “I was afraid,” she says, “and I wondered “why do I need to talk to people?’”
She tried to write using secondary sources from the Internet, but that didn’t produce the quality she needed. “I kept hearing the same thing over and over again: you need sources,” Nida says. “I figured that interviewees would think I was an idiot and might say to me, ‘why did you just ask me that question?’”
She eventually plunged into conducting an interview but “sweated my entire shirt up” during the process. She traces her fears back to when she worked at a pharmacy and a pharmacist would criticize how she interacted with other people.
So, what should Joy and Nida – and let’s face it, all of us – do when fear rears its ugly head?
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