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Write Scared

. . . not safe . . .

Say What?

If you’ve talked with authors much, you might be familiar with this maxim, most of the time credited to Stephen King (which makes perfect sense):

Write Scared

But, what exactly does that mean? And what if you’re not a writer? Does it apply to any creative business or life endeavor? I think so. And I’ll tell you why.

But first, let’s talk about what it means to me, an author.

Authoring a book is a scary proposition. The first time, it’s unknown territory. Unless you’re writing a cookbook or a treatise on how to plant a radish, it’s downright frightening.

Writing a novel pulls–out of the author–a plethora of fears, long-dead (we think) emotions, and other stuff we’d rather forget.

So why do it?

Because authors can’t not write. Not exactly a grammatically correct sentence, but it’s a true statement. Ask any author.

Here’s a list I made for myself. It’s in front of me as I sit down at my laptop to write.


Write from the place of your deepest fear.

Write from the bottomless pit of drowning in sorrow.

Write from the fires of your waterless desert.

Write from the place of no answers.

Write from your music-less soul.

Write from the prison of betrayal.

Write out of your pain . . . the kind that puts you down.


This is my list. Another author’s might look different.


Take my latest release, The Master’s Inn

Here’s a story of three families who are stranded in a fierce snowstorm. They don’t know each other. What they find out about each other during the three or four days they’re stuck together brings them to the brink of catastrophe . . . especially when a rebellious teenager goes missing in the storm. Will the three couples stop circling each other long enough to pull together and go after her? Will they find her alive? Or will she succumb to the storm . . . or the bear who stalks her?

Why was this scary for me to write? Good question. And I’ll answer it. But I have to warn you that just saying this out loud is hard.

My biggest fear is losing a child.

There, I said it. Not a day goes by that my heart and brain aren’t niggled by that monstrous fear.

I daresay I’m not alone on this cliff. In fact, many of you, dear readers are standing right next to me. I’ve known many parents who have lost a child and there is no antidote for that grief in this life.

So, why write about it? Why not just go about my business and write (because I can’t not write) something lighthearted and fluffy? I’m so glad you asked.

Because of you.

Because no one in this realm will get off planet earth without experiencing pain and fear. Things we can’t handle on our own. Scary stuff we need God to get through . . . and each other.

Authors are curious and persistent. We want to understand our world, to explain it. So we try to explain the unexplainable by telling a story. Painters, architects, sculptors, singers, inventors, and other creatives are just the same.

The characters in The Master’s Inn begin their story hiding their fears from each other. But by the end, they’ve learned a better way.

And so should we.

You can check out The Master’s Inn on Amazon. Just click the title. It’s also available on my Books Page.

Hope you enjoy!





4 responses to “Write Scared”

  1. Steve+Hooley says:

    Sorry for my late response to your blog invitation. Life has been too busy. Too many fires to put out.

    Wonderful blog. Important ideas. And yes, we writers write from the depths of our fears, aspirations, and emotions. I write “clean teen” for my grandchildren, hoping that as they get older and read “their” books, they will learn some of the lessons I failed to teach their parents, because I was so busy making lots of mistakes.

    Good luck with marketing and sales of The Master’s Inn.

    • Deb Gorman says:

      “…they will learn some of the lessons I failed to teach their parents, because I was so busy making lots of mistakes.”

      Oh boy, do I hear you! Some of my goof-ups, selfishness, and just plain stupidity as a parent are truly cringe-worthy. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle my 3 ever grew up sane and productive. I’m sure I’m not alone in that. Each generation lives and breathes that sentiment. It’s a good thing I was never really in control. 🙂

      Thanks for reading, Steve!

  2. Julie Grace says:

    Great blog. I also have a blog where I showcase Christian fiction/ non-fiction authors. I enjoyed reading your blog posts. They are very insightful and inspiring. I just read your book, “The Master’s Inn,” and it was my favorite of the year. It was filled with intense circumstances and how God fixes broken hearts and broken families. Loved it! God bless.

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