Write in a Way That Scares You a Little: Holley Gerth


April 22, 2013 by Nichole Eck

This quote is especially poignant as I’m preparing to submit a personal essay to several literary journals for publication.

The essay is the story of my miscarriage earlier this year.

I’ve spent close to 200 hours on it and written upward of a dozen drafts. Very little remains of the first draft (which had good intentions, but none of the accuracy or craft of this final draft).

While editing, I’ve been endlessly looping between believing my hopes and listening to my fears.

Hopes: My writing will give voice to the fears and sorrows of other women who have miscarried, say things they maybe won’t even let themselves think because society never talks about it. My writing will give them peace.

Fears: I’m crazy, and this essay will show everyone. I’m the only one who’s experienced the things that no one talks about (which is why no one talks about them), and when I share my thoughts, I’ll just get blank stares and people looking at their shoes.

I realize that that my fears are arrogant (and maybe even my hopes). But I view sharing my work as an act of humility.

Because I am admitting that I am just like other people.

I believe that my kind of crazy is the human kind of crazy. The kind that deserves to be named because it will be recognized by others.

And if writing something scares you, then someone else is probably likewise held captive by the thought. And isn’t speaking the truth and freeing others why we’re here? Why we write?

Have you ever written something that scared you?


14 thoughts on “Write in a Way That Scares You a Little: Holley Gerth

  1. Sian Mann says:

    I commend you for your ability to write about something so personal and raw, and I think you should let that fear continue to drive you. Fear is a pure emotion, the epitome of being human, and I am sure plenty of people who have gone through the experience you have will feel comforted by your story.

    The topics that no one talks about are usually the ones worth writing about. Write on 🙂

  2. Helen Holdun says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the very personal way in which you shared the details of writing your essay. I pray sharing has afforded you peace for your heartbreaking loss.

    Yes indeed, I have been terrified when writing. In fact one of my most frightening moments was submitting the manuscript of my just published non-fiction book, which shares the intimate details of my life and how music became my catalyst to self-discovery. I’ve worried too the reader will think I’m crazy. What tempers the fear, is the hope that the reader will see themselves in what I’ve shared. And in doing so, if they feel something is missing in their lives, they’ll find the courage to seek a happier path to their own journey.

    Good luck with your future writing.

    PS: My book is: “It Could Be Magic… How The Music of Barry Manilow Changed My Life and The Journey Ever Since”

  3. Catia says:

    WOW! I applaud you for your courage! I’ve always thought I’d like to write something about some of the scary things in my life but I never had the courage to do it! WTG!

  4. Jeff Kent says:

    You know when you’re listening to a speaker and they’re boring, and then they say, “This may sound strange, but…” or “I don’t want to seem crazy, but…”? When they do that, whatever they say after that is usually interesting. Maybe not knock your pants off interesting, but certainly better than whatever they were saying before. So I think you’re making the right decision. Imagine if the movie “Fight Club” had decided to play it safe. Or Borat, for that matter (whether you like it or not). Granted, what you’re writing about is deeper, but if it’s real, don’t hide from it.

    The most important thing you should do is follow all advice from unpublished people like me 🙂 That way, I feel good.

  5. katemsparkes says:

    I have a feeling that what you wrote will resonate with a lot of people, and I hope it finds the best possible place to be presented to the world.

  6. awriterweavesatale says:

    Yup. When I had a miscarriage too.

  7. Cat Johnstone says:

    Beautifully said. Our hopes and fears are such vulnerable things and when someone sits with us and shares theirs with us, it can be so healing and freeing.
    Well done for being so brave. It will be worth it.

  8. Hey, I nominated you for the Sunshine award. Keep up the great work!

  9. I love the quote! It takes an awful lot of courage to write about something so personal and painful. I commend you.

  10. Great courage! Some of the best work out there comes from really deep and dark places within the authors. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Val Mills says:

    You’re giving me courage to write some of the things I’ve been holding back on. I admire your courage in both writing the essay and sharing that experience with us.

  12. L. Marie says:

    Wow. I need to sit with this quote a bit longer. Like everyone else, I commend you for your courage to put your pain out there, especially knowing how many people will benefit by it and how hard you’ve worked on it. Every bit of writing I do scares me. Anyone who has been rejected previously probably feels some level of fear. My fear centers around my writing the kind of book people don’t expect me to write. Sorry to be cryptic, but this is a long story. I know I have to be true to the story I’ve been given, even if others think I should spend my time on other things.

  13. krangara says:

    Hey Nichole

    I stumbled onto your blog while looking for ‘writing quotes’ to get me in the mood to clack my keyboard this evening 😉

    I commend your spirit and honesty, dear. My motto is very similar to yours in that I want my words to have the power and profundity to provide a voice for those in distress, thereby helping them begin their healing process.

    Thank you for your courage, commitment and compassion…


  14. […] never properly thanked her. She’s Nichole Eck and she’s a writer too, a novelist-to-be. Go look at her blog. She hasn’t updated it in a while, but you can find her on Twitter too. Nichole, thank […]

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