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In celebration of Shel Silverstein’s newest release Every Thing On It I thought I’d take out and dust off this poem I wrote back in 2006. It was inspired by Silverstein’s Whatif poem. I wrote it early in my career and made some tweaks to update it a bit, but overall not much has changed.

I called it Worry because that’s something that writers do well.


Worry: A Writer’s Whatif

Before I sit down at my desk

My heart starts racing in my chest

Some whatifs begin to dance in my ears

And their questions reveal all my fears:

Whatif I can’t finish my next book?

Whatif no reader will give it a look?

Whatif I can’t get my ideas to work?

Whatif my computer just went berserk?

Whatif everyone finds out I’m a fake?

Whatif I discover my career’s a mistake?

Whatif reviewers think I’m no good?

Whatif I wrote a book no one understood?

Whatif staring at the screen made me go blind?

Whatif these voices mean I’m out of my mind?

Whatif tomorrow I have to revise?

Whatif the copyeditor won’t compromise?

Whatif my book gets remaindered in hordes?

Whatif I turn agoraphobic and have to stay indoors?

Whatif my proposal gets lost in email?

Whatif my entire novel ends up stale?

But I push the whatifs aside and begin to write

This is my dream; this is my plight

For one thing I’ve learned to accept and to know,

Is the key to ideas

Is getting whatifs to grow.

I’ve gotten used to my writing fears. I accept them and write anyway. If there’s something you’re afraid of, know that you’re not alone. We all have things that frighten (worry) us, but don’t let fears get in the way of your dreams.

© 2011 Dara Girard