On Writing, prt. 1: Facing Fear

feet on edge of cliff overlooking river

Photo from Flickr used under Creative Commons license, by epSos.de

I had not planned on blogging at all during this time when I am supposed to be finishing up my book. However, just before I sat down today to begin writing in earnest, I became aware of deep feelings of fear. And I realized that this is part of the process. I never fear writing a blog post because so little is at stake. What if a post “fails”? Then it receives fewer hits than others. But what if my book fails, into which I have greatly invested myself, along with hopes and dreams that I cannot help but connect to it? If that fails, I have lost something, or it feels that way.

If I fail to blog about this process, I think my readers will lose out a great deal. We all have hopes and dreams which we deeply desire to see become reality, but which strike deep fears into us as well. They get to the heart of our insecurities somehow. So I will, from time to time, write a few words about how I am feeling as I sit down to write for the day. Today is nothing but intense fear. What if I fail? What if I write something terrible? Worse yet, what if I write something I know to be excellent, but no one (particularly an agent or publisher) accepts it? What if — well, all my fears begin with “what if.” And where have those what-ifs gotten me so far? Exactly to where I am currently with my writing. Which of course is nowhere.

And so I sit down to write today not because I have already conquered my fears, but because I am no longer going to allow my fears to conquer me. And if learning to face my deepest fears is ultimately all that comes from this process, I emerge the victor in the end. And not only in the end, but in each and every moment where I ignore my pounding heart and the swish of blood rushing in my ears to type one more letter, one more word, one more paragraph, one more page.

Question: What dreams of yours have you been afraid to pursue? Will you step forward with  me? Will you set your hand to the plow and do the work?