Friday, July 22, 2011

Show Your Fears A Little Love Too!

Happy Friday Everyone! I can't believe the month of July is almost over - crazy, you know! Today I want to talk about fear. After the two posts earlier this week looking at some of the more common "sins" of writing - predictability, sloth, gluttony, disrespect, haste, denial, and abandonment - a common thing came up in the comments and emails I received -

Fear.

I think every writer has had a moment, or a million, in which the fear of something has consumed almost everything else. Maybe it has even prevented that writer from moving forward, querying that project, emailing that agent, etc.

Personally, I battle with fear on an almost daily basis in one form or another:

  • What if I can't figure out these revisions?
  • What if no one follows my new blog?
  • What if I NEVER find an agent/editor/publisher in fiction?
  • What if, what if, what if.
The fear of failure (and success, actually) can literally choke the air from my lungs at times, throwing me into a place so dark, and so scary I can't think straight.

But here's the thing...

Maybe that isn't all bad, you know? Maybe that fear...that dark place has a purpose too.

Fear, in it's purest form, alerts me to danger. It tells me when I need to pay more attention, or when I'm encountering something uncomfortable. 

And, most importantly, it's fear that keeps me from complacency by forcing me to act in some way - to fight or flight. Something.

It is only when I obsess on that fear, or resist action of some form, or allow myself to get stuck in the darkness that I have a problem. 

It is only when I forget that fear has a purpose too that it prevents me from moving forward.

So, the next time fear grips you by the throat and chokes the air from your lungs, be still and try to hear what your fear is really telling you - what action you need to take, or why you are uncomfortable. Submit, for a moment, instead of resisting. And then move forward. You may be surprised what you find.

How do you deal with fear?

(Oh, and about that dark place - that's a source of my best stories!)

5 comments:

  1. In all honestly I will run from the project--take too long to write it, revise it. Fear and self-doubt are a couple of nasty partners--_but_ what you say makes total sense! Thanks for sharing your insight!

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  2. Wise words. I hadn't thought of fear like that, but it definitely makes you act. I think I'm so non-confrontational in general that I try to use that with my fears too. Flight seems so much easier than fight. I guess if I want my writing to be read, I better own my fears.

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  3. But you know at times it's hard you know. But with training i think i would be putting my fears to good use.

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  4. Ah, fear. I think sometimes we can use it to make ourselves get better, work harder. Other times, it's okay to veg on the couch.

    When I'm afraid, I do both--and then I chat you!

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  5. I admit I'm a writer that needs a little pushing from my awesome crit partners to delve into areas that it seems I'm afraid of. FEELINGS!! ACK!

    I love my crit partners.

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Thanks for your input!