Fear could result in bad writing for a number of reasons. In “On Writing” Stephen King says, “I am convinced fear is the root of all bad writing.” Obviously there could be other problems contributing to someone’s bad writing, but fear definitely hinders an author’s success. One author might live in fear that he or she may not be able to come up with any creative ideas to start a piece of writing. Another author might be afraid of readers not liking his or her work. Critics can be very harsh and I would bet most authors have a hard time handling so many judgmental, negative remarks.
I believe that authors live in fear of how readers might react if they were to take a chance and publish a piece of their writing that may be a little different. Often, authors aren’t willing to take a risk with their writing not only because publishing a potentially unpopular book or article could waste time and effort, but because readers would criticize these authors’ work. All of us, deep down, has a fear of being accepted, even authors.
Something that really stuck out to me in “On Writing” was the fact that Stephen King deems it “really bad” to “dress up” the vocabulary in your writing. This is something that I did often in high school. When I write papers, I usually have an online Thesaurus handy so that I can look up synonyms for simple words, hoping I can find more sophisticated sounding words to use instead. Maybe I did this because I thought I would fool most of my high school teachers into thinking I had a better vocabulary than I actually did, or maybe, I had always lived in FEAR that my writing didn’t sound “smart enough.” The process of looking up synonyms for simple words and replacing smaller words with bigger words takes a large amount of time. If a person’s writing is better left easy to read and to the point, then why bother wasting time with fancy words? After reading “On Writing” I am definitely going to work on keeping my writing plain and simple rather than “dressed up.”