I started writing a new book today.

I don’t like talking about my work in progress while working on them, especially in the early stages (which kind of shits all over the idea of a blog but hey), but one thing became immediately clear: this book is dark.

Now I’m no stranger to writing darker books. Killing Freedom was dark. The McDone books are dark. Dead Days was dark. Even the Blake Dent books, full of humour and comedy, are dark too.

But this book is particularly dark. So much so that I wondered whether I really wanted to carry on writing it.

And then I realised something.

By writing what terrifies me, I’m pushing myself to be original.

It’s easy to play it safe when we’re writing stories. It’s easy to avoid writing certain swear words because we’re worried about what our parents might think, or easy to hold back against our creative impulses because of some superficial idea of what “writing to market” is.

It’s easy to water down our true creativity in the search for success. To copy those who were bestsellers before us in an attempt to replicate achievement.

But it’s important that we embrace the fear–embrace what terrifies us–and run with it. It’s the key to uniqueness in fiction.

This isn’t just for dark suspense or horror writers. It could apply to comedy writers too, or romance authors. Trust yourself–trust your creative instincts–instead of the voice telling you to ease off in your mind, dumbing you down, making you sound like everyone else.

Trust in your ability to tell a unique, original story.

Write what terrifies you.