"Writing is a form of performance. Page fright, like stage fright, can be turned into focus." — Ralph Keyes
I stumbled across this quote in Keyes' "The Courage to Write" and realized how little credit the art of writing gets as an act of bravery. A good text is seen as a work of genius and innovation, and I often cannot fathom how novelists find the gumption (or time) to just sit down and write a book. Yet rarely do we look at that book we have to read for class and think, "Wow, it must have taken a lot of courage for that writer to get this out into the world."
I remember how nervous I was when I sat down to write my first article for Odyssey. I read it over at least 15 times before submitting it, and even then I was still a nervous wreck. I was putting words I'd strung together on the Internet. Yet I've found what all of my writing professors have told me to be true: the best way to improve your writing and feel better about publishing it is to sit down and write. Not just occasionally, but habitually. Now I'm less anxious about people I've never even met before reading what I've written so much as making sure that what they're reading is my best efforts.
Overcoming page fright is a daunting task that requires practice and patience. In some ways, you will never be 100% free of it. Stay focused. Let your passion drive you. The risks are scary, but the rewards are great.