The rough draft of [Divergent #2] was the hardest thing I have ever written, and I had no idea why. After discarding every explanation I came up with, I was finally able to land on the one that was actually true: it was all related to fear.
Most of that anxiety comes from my constant assessment of other people’s opinions about me. So, you can imagine what happened when I entered into a profession in which assessments of my work are constant, abundant, and very, very public.
Then someone pointed out that I chose to write a book about bravery. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that I wrote about [Tris] because I longed for that quality of hers that is so distinctive to me: she chooses the true thing instead of the safe thing. And what she discovers is that the freedom to become who she wants to be is worth the danger.
I’ve learned from Tris that there aren’t really safe places — or that if there are, I don’t really want to be in them, because it’s not who I am.
I don’t want to be a writer who is ruled by fear. I want to be the one who says: they may not like it, but this story is as true as possible, so I don’t mind.
Anxiety doesn’t just disappear. But I am determined not to consult my fear when I make decisions, in life and in writing.
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