I have a large and rather irrational fear of something a bit laughable-- ants. It's a psychological thing, stemming from a vivid and horrifying experience of falling into an ant pile when I was about five. If I see a pile of ants, I have a knee-jerk reaction and instant panic/anxiety.
This proved to be a problem when hiking the rainforest in Ghana.
It was the most terrifying thing I've ever done in my life. I ran as fast as possible, praying the ants wouldn't surge up my legs and eat me alive. (Why, yes, I DO get melodramatic in tense situations, why do you ask?) This didn't cure me of my fear of ants, but I do admit I have a certain amount of pride knowing I conquered my fear enough to take on those ants.
There really is a point to this, I promise.
Is there something that you're afraid to write? An "ant" in your brain that scares the crap out of you? Face that fear-- write it. Sometimes we're afraid to write something because it unsettles us. Maybe we feel it's too controversial, or that we personally are ashamed of it in our own lives. Whatever the reason, writing the things we're afraid of usually ends up being a powerful experience not just for us, but for readers.
I faced that fear in writing TUGL. I was terrified of forgetting certain things-- afraid of what it meant that my memories of certain things had faded. I was ashamed that things I'd vowed always to remember had become less of a focus for me. How did that change me? Who did that make me? So I wrote a story about who we become when memories are literally taken from us-- or at least, who one girl became. It was incredibly cathartic, and even helped me learn things about myself. With any luck, because of the strong emotions I had for this story, it will inspire similar emotions and experiences in readers.
So, my friends, what are you afraid of? Have you written a story that ended up being very powerful because of your fears?