Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

The Audacity to be a Writer

You’re a writer. An artist.

You write about things that matter to you, and I’m sure you hope those things will matter to others, but even if they don’t, you’re still going to do the work.

That’s what artists do. It’s remarkable. But it’s more than that…


It’s audacious.

You don’t need recognition and approval

We might want it,  and from time to time we may even wonder why we’re not getting more of it, but we: Don’t. Need. It.

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh wasn’t recognized as an artist during his lifetime, and yet today there’s no argument that he was an artist. One of the greatest. Ever.

Van Gogh created art whether anyone cared or not. He didn’t need recognition or the applauding approval of an audience. In fact, he only sold one painting during his lifetime, The Red Vineyard (above).

He didn’t need you. He didn’t need me.

He didn’t need anyone to recognize his greatness.

All he needed were his canvases, brushes, and paint.

He was audacious like that.

That’s remarkable. Really.

I’m sure when you think about it you’ll realize you don’t need anyone’s approval, or their recognition for that matter.

I can do nothing about it if my paintings don’t sell. The day will come, though, when people will see that they’re worth more than the cost of the paint and my subsistence, very meagre in fact, that we put into them.

― Vincent van Gogh

Source: Personal letter to his brother, Theo:

Arles, c. 25 October 1888

What’s audacious about being a writer?

You’re a writer, regardless of whether anyone buys your work or not. It’s the work itself that matters. You simply need the means to put your words on paper.

Being audacious is about taking risks, going against conventions and the status quo.

Trivial things like keeping up with the Joneses and the 9 to 5 lifestyle are not for you.

As writers, we battle inner turmoil every day caused by doubt, and we create work with no guarantees it will be accepted. In fact, there will be those who dislike it and harshly criticize it.

We give most of our lives to doing something no one fully understands, much less appreciates, except fellow artists who are also brave enough to create anyway.

That’s audacious.

In a hundred years, whether you sell all of your work or only one piece, or none, all that will matter is that your words are still here.

Our words live on.

So write.

Scribble your little writer’s heart out. (Click to Tweet)

Your work matters.

You’re a writer. An artist.

Indeed. You’re audacious like that.

That’s remarkable. Really. You’re remarkable.

What are you currently working on? Tell us about it in the comments.

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • Betsy

    Thanks for this lift today Bryan. This is a wonderful reminder of why we do what we do.
    I get so frustrated with myself because Im not published yet. Your words remind me to press forward because I’m compelled within to do so, and not writing would be an even greater tragedy (to my own soul most of all).
    I have two children’s books that are near ready to be published; one helps young children understand their “hidden potential to become something so much bigger than they ever imagined; the other a silly book about animals who do silly things contrary to their natural habitat. I also have a book for mid-life women in transition. My goal is to build a platform, get published, so I can encourage others to embrace and be the wonderful, creative person that God made them to be! You are an encouragement in my journey. Thank you!

    • You’re several steps ahead of a lot of people, Betsy. You know what you want to do. Keep pressing forward and build that platform. Your books sound fun!

  • Marianne Kesler

    So encouraging on a cold day as winter approaches! I wrote a new blog post about how the seasons can affect our creativity – which I wrote as an encouragement to myself too! Would welcome comments 🙂 http://mariannekesler.com/blog/seasonal_creativity_disorder/

    • Thanks for sharing, Marianne. I should do some re-ordering, too. Winter is a good time to try to turn things around and perhaps even write a new book.

  • michaeltyler

    Today, journal writing is the means I find to stay organized. Documenting helps me continue when life has so many new adventures, challenges and experiences.

    I have over 110,000 words written over the last three years in particular. Deciding what to do with them is on my mind. James, your writings have my attention. I look forward to following you with the new offer.

    Tribe Writers came along as I began to write with intention. The Grove, a full blown creative support system that sings to my heart from the West Coast entered my life this year, with, and now you, personally moving forward and willing to share is a refreshing inspiration. Thanks for being bold.

    • 110,000 words – I have one for that, AMAZING! Keep at it. Love the picture by the way and the colors, very Van Gogh-ish. 🙂

      • michaeltyler

        Thanks Bryan. Will do my best. The image is of a painting from a painting classroom I taught three years ago. Interestingly at the time, I began to see information revealing the truth about Van Gogh’s love for Christ, and his servant’s heart.

        This combines a memorable moment and rare technique. A master of painting, whose life is before us, in his body of work.

        • I love Van Gogh so much for his pure heart. His faith shone through his paintings and still does to this day.

  • Melanie Pike

    I am working on revising a novel I’ve written at least twice before, the last time in March 2013. I pitched it online to an editor and received a request for a synopsis, so guess who procrastinated about that? Yeah… I’ve been writing on and off for over 40 years (since 7th grade) and needed to read this today. Thank you! 🙂 I’ve also shared it with out son (who also writes) and our daughter (an artist; Van Gogh is one of her favorites).

    • Ha Melanie, I know a little something about procrastination. One of these days I’ll get around to telling you about it. Thanks for sharing the post with your family and friends. Now go get that synopsis done. 🙂

  • I am currently stuck in this in between, trying to figure out how to get my words heard without being absolutely ridiculous but I can tell you my 9-5 is not for me. I spend most of my time doing anything to avoid it. I love writing, creating as it’s my only source of genuine artistry. The hardest part for me has been the conditioned habits I have developed from being who I thought I should have been instead of defying the status quo and chasing what I wanted.

    Great article, can’t wait until you hear about me someday soon 😉

  • Sharon Roe

    So glad I didn’t live in Van Gogh’s time and have to struggle through on my own without the benefit of audacious reminders to create arriving in my inbox! I’m going to add ‘audacious’ to my collection of words for writer’s attributes, along with vibrant, rebellious, and indomitable.

    • I like, “indomitable.” A lot. Consider “intentional” as well.

  • Katina Vaselopulos

    A wonderful example, Brian, showing that at some point in the future our words will matter! That’s why I decided to turn my journals into a book, even if only my grandchildren read in the future. I wish my ancestors had left their thoughts on life and the wisdom life instilled in them.
    You are great! Truly!
    Bless you!

  • Blake Meehan

    Thanks so much Brian for your blog about being yourself and taking risks in writing! Appreciate this as someone who is writing my first book this gave me more confidence in writing in the way which works for me.

  • Lovely post, Bryan. Thanks. I’m still debating between continuing the traditional publishing route or going indie for my debut novel, Pennies from Burger Heaven. I’m also thinking about my next novel, as well as growing my blog. Thanks for asking.

    • You’ve got a lot going on, Marcy. It’s good to stay busy, but remember to breathe.

      It’s getting hard and harder to decide whether traditional publishing is worth it or not. Let me know what you decide.

  • Thank you for a lovely positive post. I’m currently working on book 2 in my dark urban fantasy novel while playing with a fun little side-project and planning a related novella. What can I say, I like to be busy!

    • When you’re a writer, busy is good. Take breaks, though, don’t forget those.

  • Thanks Bryan – needed this today 🙂 Felt a little discouraged working on Book #2 in my Historical Romance series… so thanks a bunch!

  • Michelle King Eigemann

    Many of you will understand when I say that somewhere, somehow the passion that once consumed my soul has been misplaced. Part of me mourns this loss while another part of me rejoices. How could something I once LOVED so much, now feel like such a chore?

    Somebody please tell me this is normal and that one day, soon, i’ll be stringing words together as effortlessly as popcorn on a Christmas tree. Please tell me this is par for the course.

    • Michelle, writing is work, hard, hard work. But yes, it’s true, all of us go awhile struggling to write and then, seemingly from nowhere, the inspiration and motivation returns and then we’re stringing words like popcorn. But here’s the thing, you’ve got to be ready when it comes and the only way to be ready is to write when it’s hard, too!

  • Need to love MY God more than anything else. For the passion and gifts he gave me are not just for me. So in the misst of discouragement and even if I lack time to write and achieve my story, I KNOW that my value is not to be a writer or anyone else. I am convincted that I can do it. Writing my stroy, Still about 2 thirds to write… Each morning, I need to be strenghen and deeply rooted in my vision to keep on. That’s my feelling today…

  • Thanks so much for Van Gogh quote. Do you remember that He wanted to be a pastor before and failed. But his gift has reached us. So happy to see his works in museums now. Thanks Vincent for your faith 🙂

    • It would have been nice if his work would have been recognized during his lifetime, but like you, I’m glad we have it now.

      • Thanks so much for answering my post. Many times, Bloggers, specially when they are quite successfull don’t reply and It’s so frustrating not beeing able to really connect on the net. I appreciate this forum because people interacte. Good Job, Bryan. 🙂

        • I know, right? I’ve noticed bloggers from the major websites, such as Huffington and others tend to not reply. I never understood why not, but, ah well.

  • Joy Lennick

    Thank you for your wise words. Having read a huge volume of books over the years, and despite having published five books, I’m very aware of the truly brilliant writers like Charlotte Bronte; modern Robert Wilson, Helen Dunmore, et al., it’s still hard not to feel ‘audacious’ when writing my meagre efforts! But that seems to be ‘the name of the game,’ so onwards and upwards!.

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    Hey Bryan

    Thanks for another phenomenal post – the Van Gogh reference was quite inspiring. #HUGS

    Too often, we belittle our creativity in the pursuit of numbers. But if we honor our calling, it doesn’t really matter whether we have 500 or 50,000 followers. What matters is that we have embraced our fears against all odds – even if just one person gets inspired by what we write, our mission is accomplished. 🙂

    Thanks again

  • Linda Bridges

    Dear Bruce thanks for this great thought on being audacious! It came at the right time for me as I’ve just come through 10 days of the writer’s blahs. Im working on a poem today– the first writing in nearly 2 weeks– for the very reasons you expressed in your article.
    I just spent about 5 weeks getting my entry for a writer’s contest completed (for my first novel). It was a scary process and of course, as soon as I sent it off, the doubt just about suffocated me. Thanks for helping restore perspective in this whole writer’s journey.

  • Great article with a lot of wisdom Bryan. Thanks for sharing this.

  • I loved this, Bryan. You are always inspiring.

  • Hi Brian,

    I told you once before that my son has ADHD, and how your memoir was a turning point for our family. Among other things it helped me to understand how important a positive attitude could be to him, but it’s only in the past year I’ve come to understand how important positivity is on every level. If you believe Abraham-Hicks (and I do) it’s an actual law of the universe. We all step into our greatest power when we remain positive and loving. It may be part of the way humanity is encouraged to evolve.

    Which brings me to my audacious projects. I’m working on a book of paintings celebrating “A Course in Miracles” and a memoir about manifestation, telepathy and other wonderful and oh so true things. My blog writersread.net launches in the new year (so tonight I’m having fun playing with webdesign.)

    Love, Jenny.

    • A memoir about manifestation sounds interesting, Jenny! I see you already have the ‘coming soon’ sign up for your new website, keep me updated so I can check it out. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  • I am absolutely in LOVE with this article Brian – so on point! I often say I am a ‘writer’ when I meet new people which is usually met with utter astonishment when they realise I don’t have a bestselling book out there despite the title I give myself. But as you say, we need no-one approval but our own and when I’m alone with my words I feel a sense of power and contentment I could never explain to someone who doesn’t feel the same about ‘art’. Your words are so on point!
    I’m currently working on writing for my personal development website and getting both myself and my words ‘out there’ into the world whilst finishing a book about Africa and redesigning my travel website! Oh! And enjoying my new life in Sydney because if you’re always in the office, you’ll never find all the other potential inspirations available in the world 🙂

    • Sydney is an awesome place to find inspiration, Toni! Sounds you have a lot going on, it’s great to stay busy, but do get out and see the sites. 🙂

  • Fantastic. I love your approach.

  • Brenda Linskey

    Thank you for this – I really needed it today (and yesterday and the day before and the day before that …). I am in the process of kicking out my first story and it helps so much to know that others struggle with the same doubts that sneak up on me. As a “newbie” I don’t always know what is normal and should be expected/accepted. I haven’t told anyone outside of my family what I am doing due to fear of failure, but you’ve helped me see that there is no failure as long as I get it written. Thank you for that ☺

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  • Joy Lennick

    Thanks for your email, and all the others. Like most writers, I’m often busy and am happy to be so…What am I on now? I’ve just finished editing a book, and am ‘semi-ghosting’ another (if there’s such a term!). A gentleman born in the late 1800s, wrote a prosaic account of his hard-working, adventurous life. I’m trying to inject a little more oomph without taking away the essence of the man, or the truth of the tale itself. He comes across as stoic and brave, but finds it difficult to express his emotions. It’s a challenge, which I enjoy, while now and then suffering the same doubts as most writers.

  • Great article! I am currently working on a memoir and hope to find a publisher. In 2014, I self-published a non-fiction book called Downsize with style. You will find more information on http://www.downsizewithstyle.com

  • Save some brilliant thoughts for the rest of us, Bryan 😉 Great article!!!

    • Thanks! You’re going to start making me think in terms of brilliance and that might be overwhelming (or just what I need).

      • If it’s overwhelming, you probably need it… LOL! 🙂 Thanks for keepin us all motivated, Bryan!

  • Ancel Mondia

    PositiveWriter.com is a huge help to me. Thank you for encouraging and eye-opening blog posts. More power to all of you!

  • Loving this site more and more! Currently working on making my blog the best version of me it can be. Also working on completing my first novel; I recently released 2 brand new short stories to give away completely free on my blog. If anyone’s interested, please check them out here: http://www.ericbeaty.com/new-short-stories-proof-blind-date/

  • Mark L. Messick

    This came at the perfect time for me, Bryan.

    I’ve been making $3,500 per month on Kindle for a little while now, and that’s great and all, but the books I were writing weren’t “me”. Like, I still enjoyed writing them, and I put my heart and soul into the writing process…but I still felt like I wasn’t fully embracing my “inner writer”.

    So, even though I’m making a good, solid income from my current Kindle books, I decided to take a leap of faith and branch out. I decided to write what I truly wanted to write, even though it will probably sell horribly at first. (At least until I build up my author brand around that niche.)

    I’ll probably go through a couple of months that are really hard financially. But that’s alright. As your post pointed out, I AM A WRITER.

    And writers write.

    And writers write what they love.

    And if I’m not writing what I love, then I’m not truly a writer.

    Thanks for this motivating and inspiring post Bryan.

    Wish me luck as I follow my heart!

    • Excellent point, Mark. It’s not just about what we ‘earn.’
      Good luck! And keep us updated. I’d love to know what you’ve got planned. It sounds exciting.

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  • It’s so easy to lose sight of what first drew us to write stories! I had to struggle to find that again, to create something that speaks to the heart and not the pocketbook: The Silent Tempest, a scifi/fantasy trilogy. http://www.ejgodwin.net .

  • E.S. Connor

    what a lovely article, just the dose of wisdom I needed to start writing (finally!!!), I’ve spend many hours in the traffic, just looking at the window of the bus and feeling all sort of ideas dancing in my head, some of them putting them in a small agenda but never feeling good enough to grab some of them and give them shape and send them to the world. thank you so much for taking the kindness and time to write this and share it with us!!

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  • Tony

    Thanks so much for this article. Being reminded that there are other people like me–other authors, who are afraid of whether or not people will like, and consume their work. It’s important to be reminded that we write because we have a story to tell. Our need to tell that story matters more than anything else.

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  • Nizam Meah

    Great article to boost me at the least. I am a physician who found that storytelling and listening is the most powerful tool I have for healing. I listen to stories, tell them my stories and together we heal. I found that there is nothing called ordinary people, after you get to know them, they are all Super Humans, they reside among us. You don’t have to watch cartoon super Hero characters or comic books.

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