Saturday, December 29, 2012

The power of Fear

Fear of success, fear of failure. Fear of rejection, fear of acceptance. Fear of seeming to be a fraud. Fear of not being a "real" writer-whatever that means. Fear of not being creative enough, fear of being stuck. Fear of the dreaded writers block. The all time most surreptitious form of fear -procrastination. I'm sure there are many other fears I haven't touched upon or mentioned in the above list. We all have had some kind of fear associated with our writing.

Whatever guise it comes under, fear is very real and if allowed, will stop us from writing.  So how do we combat this ? First of all lets admit that it exists. Secondly you must discipline yourself to act in spite of the fear. I sat on my first manuscript for a year because of fear, fear of actually being accepted and  consequently having to followup that first novel with another. Really? Yes really. I overcame this by asking myself if this was a path I really wanted to pursue. Did I really want to write?  Would I write even if no one read my books? Would I write if everyone read my books? Would I write if everyone read my books and hated them?

After giving it much thought (and answering yes to all the questions) I plunged into my writing despite the fear I may have felt. For  me that was the key, taking the action. Putting the words on the page day after day. I think writers as a rule are a hardy lot, we learn early on to deal with rejection ( especially if we seek the traditional route of agent-publisher). We are thick skinned out of necessity.  Yet beneath it all we are artists, honing our craft, constantly polishing.

At our core we are storytellers and that requires a type of sensitivity and vulnerability. That is the side of ourselves we must protect and nurture. Not by building impenetrable fortresses that stifle our creative voice, and keep others at bay. It doesn't work anyway. We cant isolate ourselves and expect to have a vibrant life. Isolation only serves to truncate our voice and is another manifestation of fear. No, the only way to deal with the spectre of fear(which never entirely disappears), the paralyzing, breath stealing effect of it- is to dive headfirst into life. Experience life to its fullest, face fear and write anyway. Your writing will be better for it, I promise.  Id be curious to hear how you face your fear, let me know.

writers write

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