If you are a writer, you are brave.
Other people may not see you that way, but believe me, it's true. If you're writing, that means you believe you have something worth saying. That world in your head - the one you always seem to be drifting off to - is something you believe in so strongly that you want other people to be able to see it too. Whether you have a moral message or not, you have a vision that cries out to be shared. By writing it, you are being brave. And by insisting on writing it even if others around you don't approve, you are being even braver.
You should be brave this way. Feel the writer's fire inside you and let it burn!
This audacity goes further, too. Every time you challenge yourself to learn more, to push your craft further than you have before, you are using it. Every time you try to write something unlike anything you've written before, and every time you think, "boy, this will be hard to write, but if I can get it right, it will be SO COOL!" you are being brave. Be brave. Push further every time. Write about the things that scare you. Write about the things that make you feel so strongly that you laugh or cry, or want to scream. By writing these things you dare to know yourself.
It also takes bravery to write about those things that other people are afraid to discuss. Painful things. Discrimination. Abuses of power. Even taboos. You don't need to fly them like a flag, but even if you get close enough to look at them straight - or from more than one angle - that takes a bravery worth seeking.
There's a further form of bravery in looking for feedback from others. We write for an audience beyond ourselves, but often we don't meet that audience. Seeking critique is like stepping out onto the stage, waiting for the crowd to cheer or catcall, heckle, or all of the above. Taking criticism and using it to make yourself and your writing stronger takes a special form of bravery.
You should be brave in this way. Be a writer, be confident and proud, and be ready to listen!
If you've ever submitted a story anywhere, you are brave. Congratulations to you, because you went out on that limb. You reached out to an editor. You entered the realm of the publishers, which can (when you're alone in your room, in your own world) seem strange, foreign and daunting. But in fact you've started a conversation, even if you don't at first hear the personal words of the ones you're talking to.
If you've ever been rejected, and then submitted the story again somewhere else - revised or not - then you are brave. You decided that the blow wasn't going to get you down. You kept to your path and continued on.
Every step on this path requires bravery. There are more steps - some might say infinitely more. But I congratulate all writers who read this on their brilliant audacity, and encourage them never to feel like they have no strength of spirit. The more writers I meet, the more I am impressed by their ideas, their determination, and their courage.
Now, go forth and be audacious!