In a recent blog posting, I wrote about my fears as a first time novelist. As it turned out, some of my fears turned out to be well founded after Secrets & Deceptions: A Three-Generation Mystery was published.
Although the novel was 70% fiction, 25% of the novel was based on facts about my family. I had warned most of my family and friends about the content of the book, and there was some concern about how my older brother would take the book. As it turned not, not well. I am now in the company of such greats as Erica Jong, Anais Nin, Grace Metalious, Henry Miller, DH Lawrence, and other authors that were banned or who upset their families and friends for what they wrote.
“We are so scared of being judged that we look for every excuse to procrastinate.”
― Erica Jong,
I let my fears keep me from writing a novel. I was afraid to hurt my family, friends, former lovers, or myself. Then I read Seducing the Demon: Writing for my Life. I know I am not a great writer yet, and Secrets & Deceptions: A Three-Generation Mystery won’t win a Pulitzer Prize. It was writing from my heart and soul and that is the best anyone can do.
It was difficult to write about the lasting effects the Holocaust had on my family. It was difficult to write about the punishment women received for being sexual human beings. It was difficult writing about how men try to control women. But I did it and even if a few people were disturbed, not everyone was.
A work colleague from years ago sent me this comment about the novel, “Just finished it, Helene. What a fascinating story…so emotionally raw and engaging. You did a great job telling the story. I was impressed.”
A friend from high school wrote that our 9th grade English teacher would have been impressed with the book.
So, lesson learned. Don’t let fear stop you from writing whatever it is you want to write. Have other authors found this to be true? Let me know.