Barb the Amateur Life Coach here.
I’ve been thinking a lot about fear these days. As writers, we’re forever talking about our inner critics and our fear of failure. We even talk about our fear of success. Usually these discussions are wrapped around a larger discussion about why we’re having so much trouble writing in general.
My question is when does fear become just a handy excuse? I’m wondering how often to we pull out the fear card to explain why we aren’t writing? Didn’t get those pages done? I couldn’t quiet my inner critic. I’m afraid it won’t be perfect. I’m afraid people won’t like it. We cling to these excuses as though they justify everything. S It’s okay if we failed today, because we understand the root cause of our failure.
Problem is, at some point we have to stop analyzing why we’re not writing and move forward.
I’ve never read the late Susan Jeffer’s famous book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, but based on the title, I’m pretty sure I know what it’s about. The bottom line is we’re all afraid. Hell, I’m afraid from the moment my feet touch the ground in the morning. Probably before that if I’m honest. And I’m terrified when I sit down to write every morning. In fact, there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not convinced I’ve forgotten how to write a quality sentence, let alone an entire book. It’s been this way since I started my very first novel, and I suspect it’ll be that way when I’m writing my 100th. I simply have a lot of confidence issues.
But I’ve also written 15 novels. Twelve of which have hit publication. Why? Because even though I’m afraid I don’t know how to write, I still show up at the keyboard. In fact, soon as I post this blog, I’m going to tackle my latest manuscript. If anyone cares, I’m about to reach the 10,000 word mark and guess what? They are actually strung together in coherent sentences. Something I’m always positive can’t happen.
So my thought to you today is to stop clinging to your fear as a way of avoiding the hard work. Because fear will never go away; it’s going to be there every time you think about trying something new, be it writing a new paragraph or trying a new hair color. You simply have to take the risk and take comfort in the fact you’re not alone. We’re all there scared with you.
PS: I did find Susan Jeffer’s website. Her five truths about fear make a lot of sense. Susan herself passed away from cancer. I can only imagine what fears she faced during her three-year battle. Hearing that she died made me feel a little humble, let me tell you. You can read Susan’s truths here: http://www.susanjeffers.com/home/5truths.cfm