Writing Life

Fear Is the Writing Killer

We have a lot to be fearful of this year. Democracy seems to be crumbling around us, the stories women share in the #metoo movement have me shivering, and I’ve finally decided to complete my Masters degree. SCARY!

In recent months all of these things have resulted in my anxiety and depression hitting new peaks. But, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this year is all about facing my fears!

Let me start off by saying, there is a lot of things I’m afraid of:
I’m always afraid I’m being too loud, or annoying, or blunt.
I’m afraid of what people will think of me based on my looks, my body, what I’m wearing…
I’m afraid I’m always making the wrong decision.

Fear rules women in ways I think men can never understand. So I’m doing my best to push past those fears and grab onto the things I want. That is the only way I’ll be the person I actually want to be.

This weekend I got my second tattoo. It is one I’ve wanted for a while, I can’t explain why. It is meaningful to me in ways other people won’t understand, and before I got it- I was terrified. What if I regret it? What if it doesn’t turn out the way I plan?

Well, it turned out just fine. Better than fine, it looks amazing. I’m still getting used to it, and I love it, but more than that I’m proud that I didn’t let the fear stop me from getting it.

The same can be said for your writing. You need to remember that the end result, the polished novel, will be well worth it. If it never gets traditionally published, there are other avenues. It isn’t a failure, so try not to let that fear rule you.

When it comes to writing there is a lot to be fearful of. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear that no one will read your words. It’s easy to never write that novel because you’re afraid of failing. It’s easy to never show anyone your work because your afraid of the criticism,  but if you never write it you will never know what it will become.

These are things we find ourselves facing down every day (with narrow, squinty eyes). We want these fears to just disappear, but they never do. You are the only one who can change it.

Frank Hubert has one of my favorite quotes regarding fear in his novel Dune:

“Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

I tell myself this whenever I’m afraid. (Maybe not the whole quote, but you get the idea.) Because Fear can be a writing killer too. Don’t let it win.

So I challenge you to pick one thing that scares you with writing. Maybe it is starting that novel idea or it is joining a critique group. Do it! Don’t give up and stay persistent. Don’t let fear rule you.

BTW, here is me after I faced my fears. You’ll see no sweaty palms or anxiety in this pick.

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