I know a lot of people are fearful of writing. I know a lot of people who are fearful for anything that involves self-expression, be it blogging, singing, songwriting, acting, photography, dancing, painting. Self-expression requires one to bear his soul to the world, and people have second thoughts for fear of being criticized and ridiculed.
I used to write a lot when I was in high school and college. I wrote a lot of short stories. I would keep a notebook where I would scribble thoughts and short essays. I lost that drive when I entered the corporate world. In the corporate world, everything needs an explanation. You need a business case, a budget, a plan, and a declaration of expected results. Doing things on a whim is not advisable in the corporate world. I fell into that mindset. I believed that I needed a reason to do something.
People hold back doing things because they need to find a reason to do something. I guess they need to offer an explanation in case someone asks why they did that. This thinking is prevalent in the corporate world, where one has to back up a proposal with a business case, a plan, a budget, and expected results. Doing things on a whim is not advisable in the corporate world. I fell into that mindset and my creativity suffered. Some things just have to be done with no explanations necessary. When George Mallory was asked why climb Mount Everest, he replied, “Because it’s there.” Some endeavors are just begging to be done.
Why be fearful of writing? What’s the worst that can happen? Sure, people can laugh at your writing but who cares? Here’s one fact of life: you can’t please everybody. So big deal if you get lambasted. If you are doing this for yourself, then who gives a shit about what other people say.
I will tell you what I am afraid of. It’s regret. I don’t fear the regret of having done something. I fear the regret of not having done anything. It’s the regret of choosing to stay within your comfort zone instead of venturing out into the world. It’s the regret of playing safe within the confines of society when there are worlds to experience out there. It’s the regret of choosing predictability over excitement.
As you can probably guess by now, the fear of writing is just a euphemism for the desire to remain in your comfort zone. There is a world of experiences out there that are held back because of a variety of reasons–fear of failure, fear of criticism, fear of going against social norms. In many endeavours that I do, I always ask myself these questions: what is the risk? who am I hurting? what is the worst that can happen? I ask these questions whenever I embark on uncharted territory–be it as seemingly harmless as writing an anonymous post, as controversial as purchasing a purchasing, as divisive as attacking religion, as dangerously thrilling as skydiving, and as exciting as sex with a stranger.
I don’t care too much about social norm, as if there is some “code of conduct” out there that defines how we should and should not act. Here’s the thing: I don’t think there is one, and if there is one, it is constantly being challenged. Take sex, for example. Filipinos have been brought up by the Christian tradition regarding sex–sex is only between a man and a woman, no sex until you are married and no sex outside of marriage. We have the norms that women should dress conservatively, women should not take the lead, that prostitution and any kind of paid sex is wrong. Who imposed these restrictions anyway? And who are they hurting? There was probably as much debauchery in the past as there is now. I have heard about parents and grandparents who were devout Christians, but who were fooling around with extra-marital affairs and who were hardly embarrassed of using contraceptives. I know of people who want to seemingly maintain an image that they are within the boundaries of social norms, like those who join this Couples For Christ facade only to end up fooling around with other married couples. Social norms are just grounds for hypocrisy and unwarranted stress to keep up with appearances.
Be yourself and as long as you aren’t transgressing over anyone’s rights, do anything your heart desires. Parachute off a plane. Shoot some rounds in a firing range. Write a rambling incoherent post. Or even write about your deepest erotic desires. The Catholic Church need not know about your fantasies so who cares if you frolic in the bedroom dressed as a clergyman and a nun. If what titillates you is being an escort, then go for it. All these activities have some risk attached to it, but heck you run the risk of getting hit by a bus every time you step on a curb. So as long as you take the necessary precautions, you should be ok.