I believe it is bold to simply sit down at the computer and begin. It is bold to put paint on a blank canvas. It is bold to leave the house any given day. Think of Star Trek's mission statement, "To boldly go. . ."
It is not so easy to boldly go.
Miriam-Webster gives seven definitions for "Bold". SEVEN.
The first, is to be "fearless before danger". I am unsetttled and romanced by this definition. It requires that we define "danger".
Here are somethings that are dangerous and require boldness:
- Leaving the house:
"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. If you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you'll be sweapt off to." - Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring.
- False knowledge
"There is nothing writing. All you do is sit at the typewriter and bleed." - Earnest Hemmingway.
- The sea:
"The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore." - Vincent Van Gogh
So much is dangerous in different ways, and to practice boldness, to stand fearless before these dangers, it is very bold indeed. But I think what is more shocking, is when we are bold in some ways and fearful in others when it should be so much easier to be bold.
I recently took up oil painting. Not that I recieved any instruction (outside a few youtube videos) or have taken any art classes, I just started doing it. One day, I picked up a brush with the startling and absolute conviction that I could put paint to canvas. There is no other explanation for what I did. Yet, sitting before the computer to complete revisions of my own novel seemed an insurmountable task.
Perhaps, I am a victim of knowing too much. I have read all the books, attended all the seminars, and listened to the advice podcasts. My cup of writing advice is s hodgepodge of ideas, some good, some useless, and many unhelpful.
Lately, I've been unable to sit before this novel and edit it. I've sent it to friends for review, but I haven't done anything with it and the pressure of a dusty manuscript mounts with every hour that the document is not improved. This is dangerous. It is allowing the paint to dry before the image is fully formed.
I've thought for awhile now that I'm in a crisis when it comes to my writing.
John F. Kennedy shared this:
"The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger: the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger—but recognize the opportunity."
I admire the boldness of new writers who don't have the knowledge required to nuture a fear of the profession. This is why I could put paint to canvas without hesitation and why it is insurmountably more difficult to face my editing. I have learned the dangers of writing and unfortuntely have not boldly gone to the writing desk.
Recieving praise for those first paintings was utterly shocking. This? You people like this? This wasn't even good. These attempts were just . . . Fine, I suppose. But what my family and friends were doing, was praising my boldness. I had put paint to canvas and created something they couldn't have dreamt of doing. Perhaps they have that fear and couldn't do what needed doing.
So I think, in this quest to write, we should be bold. Forget the rules, the seminars, the other writers out there writing, and boldy do what new writers do and just write.
It is simple and it is difficult, but it is bold.
This post is part of a series of daily writing exercises for 2020.
Today's post comes as a reaction to the word "Boldness".