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[Behind The Book] The Trouble With Becoming A Witch
Written by
Amy Leigh Edwards
December 2017
Written by
Amy Leigh Edwards
December 2017

I’m scared.

I am pretty much always operating with some amount of fear gnawing at me. Sometimes, it’s so small that I hardly notice it. Other times, well…. it’s very noticeable. On social media, I have titled myself “Fearless Content Creator” but that fearless part comes only after the repeated fear-conquering I do on what seems to be a daily basis. And I know that subconsciously I am using that moniker to help myself feel less fearful, too.

Anyone who has put something out in the world— art, music, writing, a fledgling business, or anything that you put your heart and soul into, really— probably knows something of this fear. The averse feelings we may experience when facing possible rejection can be deep-seated and overwhelming.

As I wrote this book in 2008 (it’ll be out ten years after I wrote it), I felt extremely fearful about the honestly it demanded from me. I thought that I could never allow anyone to read it because what would they think! Especially my family, my ex-husband, my friends, everyone I know.  Not to mention that I was raised as a Christian— surely, I'd scare them off just by using the word witch!

For me, however, when it comes down to it, the pain of not doing something is always far greater than the pain of actually doing it. If I didn’t write and if I didn’t then put it out in the world— if I didn’t at least try — I would always wonder. The fear would have won. And that won’t do.

In the book, I see now that the Veronica (the book's protagonist) in me needed time to find her voice. In the socio-political movement currently happening in the United States with the #metoo movement, many women have been criticized for not speaking out when the assault(s) or impropriety(s) happened. But just as this book did, it takes time. Not only does it take time to overcome fear, but it takes time to become mature enough to realize that we don’t have to please others.

When I lived those years that inspired this book, I lived in a fearful way. I never wanted to upset anyone. I wanted my parents happy; I wanted my husband and friends happy. I wanted peace. I thought others might know best for me. For instance, I was told no by all parties when I said I wanted to get married outdoors (No, Amy, you have to get married in a church. And no, your dog can’t be in the wedding!). I accepted being told what to do. I allowed myself to be someone else’s version of me.

It took years for me to realize that I didn’t have live in someone else’s truth. And that’s what this book essentially is: it is one woman’s realization that she has her own voice and can do with it what she pleases. I am certainly not saying that there isn’t a place for compromise in relationships and in life; of course there is. But when it comes to our essential truth and being, we cannot compromise. If we do, we give in to fear— fear of being alone, fear of a less secure future, fear of rejection. We give in to the needs of others to feel comfortable and the fear of what might happen if we, perhaps, don’t want to go to church and would rather stay home and cast a spell over coffee instead. Or if we, perhaps, need to speak out about the sexual assault we experienced in college. Or whatever it may be— fill in the blank.

Whatever the case, aren’t we lucky to be at this point in history (herstory)? There are communities that are standing by, ready to accept us, ready to listen— even this one, right here. Ready to provide a space where it doesn’t matter if it’s been forty hours or forty years since something happened— it’s not too late to stand up, speak out, and make the change that we need. So be your own witch, and I will too. Because, fear or no fear, I know she’s awesome.

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  • Amy Leigh Edwards

    I want to cry these comments make me so happy. Thank you for reading this and taking the time to share your thoughts. I didn't know how to reply to each comment so I will just do it here.....
    Lisa, it's such a work in progress. Thank you for what you wrote!
    Kathryn, how amazing to read. I would love to check out your books. This is all so true and you can never please everyone so might as well be true to ourselves. Thank you.
    Patricia, that quote is amazing and I have never heard it. Thank you for sharing and I love it!
    Sandra, we certainly give each other courage. It's finding others like this right now who function in a similar space that help us constantly overcome this fear. Thank you!
    I am so glad to connect with each of you here....thank you!

  • Lisa Thomson

    LOVED this. Thanks for sharing your fears. I felt very similar when publishing my book in 2012. I'm still learning to not care so much what others think of me and certainly not caring about whether my actions make people happy or not. Sounds selfish but it doesn't have to be.

  • Kathryn Meyer Griffith

    I felt the same way about writing/publishing a book about witches way back in 1993. Though it was a basic book about good versus evil and the good wins, many people still didn't understand. I actually had someone call me on the telephone one day and scream at me that I was going to hell for writing a book (a FICTION book) about witches. I asked if she'd read it and she just hung up. It scared me. To this day I am still cautious when I mention my book WITCHES, though over the years its been one of my best-selling novels of my 26 novels, and now its sequel Witches II: Apocalypse (written a long 24 years after the first one). I am a spiritual person and a church goer and in 1993 I faced the reactions of people fearfully when I published that book. But I'm a storyteller and I write whatever my muse wants me to write....whether its dinosaurs, ghosts, cozy mysteries or romance. A writer must be true to herself. Never doubt that, Amy. I've been a writer for over 45 years and I will tell you now...always write what your heart tells you to write.

  • Patricia Robertson

    “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.” From Your Mother and My Mother by Hafiz.
    Found this quote a few weeks ago and love it. Thought you might too.

  • Sandra Joseph

    This: "For me, however, when it comes down to it, the pain of not doing something is always far greater than the pain of actually doing it. If I didn’t write and if I didn’t then put it out in the world— if I didn’t at least try — I would always wonder. The fear would have won. And that won’t do." Amen, sister! This principle guides my life and is the reason I am, like you, scared of something pretty much every day. The beauty of voices -- and books -- like yours is that you give us courage by showing up and standing in your power. Thanks for this beautiful gift.