How to Write (and Publish) the Thing You’re Afraid to

“The only way to become a great writer is to do (and say) scary things.” Jon Morrow

As I mentioned in my last blog, I published my first memoir based on six years of journaling I’d done during the healing journey my son and I took to earn our black belts together. I used personal essays and journal entries to give readers a glimpse into my world and life, and it was the first time I’d been brave about being out loud with my stories. I’ve been addicted to brave writing ever since and I’d like to help convince you writing (and sharing) the thing you’re afraid to write will be your ticket to a lifetime of writing that heals your life and soul, and may just change the world.

Writing the thing you’re afraid to write is about getting over the fear keeping you paralyzed. The fear might be a combination of inner critic voices and not wanting people to think bad things about you. Either way, your fear is boring (Thanks Elizabeth Gilbert) and I’m going to help you get over it and write the thing sitting inside that’s screaming to be set free on the page.

The thing about this kind of fear; the kind making you believe you’re not good enough, you’re bad or wrong, you’re not smart enough or experienced enough or popular enough or even that you’re too much — that fear and the fact you actually listen to and believe those messages is exactly what’s in the way of you breaking free, writing brave and sharing your healing stories with the world.

Time to get over it. Time to think, believe and act differently. Time to share your wild, raw, vulnerable, messy, painful stories with us. And you know why it’s time? Because you’re ready. How do I know? You’re reading this.

You’re also ready because the pain of silence is suffocating you; causing chest pain. You’re ready because you know playing small, staying quiet and following everyone else’s rules isn’t the way you want your life continue. You’re ready because your big dreams, desires and goals are creating an ache inside you can’t deny. You’re tired of your own bullshit and brave seems like the way to get past it.

And it is.

So how do you get over the fear and hit “publish” on your raw, real, messy, painful, vulnerable stuff? You gotta grab your lady balls, reclaim your worth, stop playing safe, do the thing you’re afraid of and be out loud with the stories that’ll shake us up and help us feel connected to you.

You gotta tell your truth, uncensored and authentic; make us know you’re there in the pit with us and tell us how you got out. You gotta trust your intuition and say what matters to you.

And I’ll share that Anne Lamott quote one more time, in case you’re thinking, but what if my mother never speaks to me again?

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them they should’ve behaved better.” Anne Lamott

And here’s another powerful question to help you get brave, asked to me by my badass life and business coach, Torrie Pattillo:

If there was nobody left on the planet to offend, upset or disappoint…who would you become?”

I’ll add, and why are you waiting?

Because in the end: your journey, your rules. What you write about, the darkest, ugliest secrets; the things keeping your soul locked up in jail and shame flushing your cheeks on a regular basis — those things? They’re the moments of healing you’ve been craving. What gets in the way of you doing the sometimes impossible work of healing yourself? The fear you’ll be sitting alone, miserable, unloveable, and unworthy of joy.

Here’s the thing though. You were born, so you matter. And so do your stories. And if you, like me, know you were born to inspire others and facilitate that process of authentic healing by writing your heart, soul and secrets onto the page; well…you know it’s time to get on with it and stop using excuses to delay expressing your awesomeness.

Here’s the how of getting over the fear:

  1. Realize fear’s just a feeling. Stop adding meaning to the feeling of fear. Fear is just excitement without the breath, says Lauren Cafritz, my amazing breath-worker. Get out of your mind and into your body and breathe with the feeling until it starts to dissipate.
  2. Write your story. Yep, just do it. And try not to censor yourself. You’re just getting the words out and onto the page, whether or not you hit “publish” is still up for debate. Right now, just write.
  3. Read your story out loud to yourself. As you’re reading your own voice one of two things will happen; you’ll be moved, or not. If you’re moved, we’re going to be moved too and that is exactly the story we need to read. Trust the emotional charge and energy with which you’re writing this story is what’ll create healing in your reader. Be brave.
  4. Ask yourself, what’s the purpose of this? When I share my most vulnerable moments I’m always concerned if they’re going to hurt someone. And I’m weighing that against the process of my own healing (which I prioritize). Along with that, my mission is always to inspire others and help them say, me too. If my story is told from my point of view and feeling, and I’m sharing how I moved through the event with an intention to help the reader — the vibe always feels high and I will most likely always share. Go with what feels good.
  5. Sharing your stories will have a “YEEEEES!” feel to them. When I write about something real for me and I’ve shared the emotion with which it happened, I get excited about sharing it. I might have that feeling of fear (excitement without the breath) but it’s more a yes feel than a no feel. That feeling is lighter, hopeful, exciting, buzzy, and liberating. When you’re about to share your story, the thing you’ve been afraid to write but really want to, it’s going to have these feelings. You can get good at knowing whether it’s a yes or when it’s something with more of a low vibe by practicing body awareness.
  6. Hit publish before you chicken out. Seriously. You’re going to have to feel the fear and do it anyway. And you know what, nothing I’ve written can’t be deleted. You’re allowed to change your mind, if you must. But more likely your brilliance is going to trigger/help/inspire your readers and as soon as you realize it you’ll take that deep breath of relief.

None of this will feel easy, but it will be worth it. Life’s short. Make your own rules. Take a risk and share your stories; inspire us, help us be brave, help us know we’re not alone. If you manage to hit publish on one of those stories, make sure to send me a little note so I can share it for you too! And in the mean time tell me in the comments; what topic are you most afraid to write about?

aura Di Franco, MPT is a holistic healer and physical therapist, published author, poet, blogger and black belt with over two decades of experience in healing. Her transformational programs combine the empowering tools of body awareness and therapeutic writing to help you learn the language of your intuition and gain the clarity you crave for your life and business. Laura’s enthusiasm is contagious and the spark that’ll inspire you to make the change you’ve been afraid to make. She’s the sherpa you’ve been looking for! Want a workshop that’ll give you practical powerful tools you can use today to heal yourself? Find them at And more free inspiration on my Facebook page HERE.

Your words will change the world when you’re brave enough to share them!