This is a brilliant question which came my way recently.
Today I write because I am no longer afraid, but if I were afraid I would write regardless.
I know a very good acting teacher who is very astute if he feels his students are moving into territory of ‘self harm’ – by which I mean he is aware if they are going to a place that would be detrimental to them. He simply steps in and redirects them to a better place.
It’s important for artists of all kind to be aware that the work they make does not have to come from a place of pain. Their own or others.
However it would be a mistake to think you can avoid it, sorrow always comes to us. It is insuperable. We must find a way to accept it, and let it instruct us, make us better people – kinder, more compassionate, aware of our own shadow, and that of others.
It must help us understand what is good and nourishing and true and worth protecting.
I do not write to harm myself or others, but I must be ready to write about harm – of all kinds. Sorrow and grief run through life, as surely as joy and contentment and excitement.
The world is a place of wonder and beauty, and there are forces that try to obscure this. It is the battle against those forces that made me a writer.