Wilbur’s Angst-Filled Creator – How Did He Manage?

Be A Novelist Multitude of Anxieties

Have you ever read Charlotte’s Web, the children’s story written by E. B. White? Or perhaps you saw the delightful movie. Were you captivated by such an enchanting and original story line?  I know I was. Poor little Wilbur the pig was in a terrible predicament from which there seemed to be no escape. He was filled with anxious worry.

Would it interest you to know a little more about Wilbur’s creator?  As a fellow story spinner, would you be surprised to know the multitude of anxieties this author suffered?  White’s fears and paranoia could well supersede Wilbur’s.

As a child, White agonized over little things that he thought he should know but did not. As he outgrew one anxiety, he was later heard to declare, another just took its place. He looked back upon a childhood as one fraught with fear.

After becoming a published author, he considered himself to be one of the most discouraged writers on the earth.  He was known for rewriting and revising his pieces as many as twenty times or more.  And even after mailing them off he would plead with the local postmaster to return to him a recently-dropped-off manuscript so he could rewrite just one more time.

As an adult he feared public appearances – especially when he was scheduled to be the main speaker. After one such engagement, he wrote in a letter to his wife:  “Nobody who has never suffered my peculiar kind of disability can understand the sheer hell of such moments.”

Admit Fear; Face Fear

So how did this angst-filled author manage to produce so many notable works of literature – many of which have endured for generations? Amazingly, White never ignored his fears. He never pretended they didn’t exist.  Nor did he hang his head in shame and wish them away.  What did he do?  He admitted them; then he faced them.

“I am not inclined to apologize for my anxieties,” he once said, “because I have lived with them long enough to respect them.”

Where does that leave us?  Do we face down our fears and walk through them? Or do we allow them to sabotage our calling?  Do our fears and anxieties cause us to walk away from a manuscript that started well, but now languishes due to lack of perseverance and determination?

Perhaps it’s time to take a cue from E. B. White and stop apologizing for our anxieties.  (To others and to ourselves!)  If they’re there, they’re there. No senseBe A Novelist in trying to sugar-coat the reality.

A closing statement from our mentor, Mr. White: “I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all.”

Let’s determine to be the type of authors that Wilbur’s creator admires! Keep on writing!

[More about E. B. White in one of my previous posts!]


Be A NovelistIn the six-month writing course that I call the Be A Novelist, Six-Month, Finish-My-Novel Challenge the subject of writing fears and writing anxieties are discussed. Help is here so you can overcome any fears that might stand in the way of your novel creation! This course offers six full months of guidance and instruction. Guaranteed to light a fire under your novel-writing attempts and to launch you into a pattern of consistent writing! Details for Be A Novelist Challenge right here!


One thought on “Wilbur’s Angst-Filled Creator – How Did He Manage?

  1. Rebecca Lacy

    What a lovely post, and oh so encouraging. I just finished a story that will be featured as a guest blog. It is something very different than I have ever written and there are self-doubts perched everywhere. However, the worst kind of doubt for me is when I think my product is good, but I’m afraid that I’m the only one who will think that That would mean that not only am I a lousy writer, I also have terrible taste. Yikes!


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