First, a news update: I’d like to send a big ‘Thank You’ to Christy Farmer for nominating kristin nador writes anywhere for the Liebster Blog Award. It’s the first award this here little blog has gotten, and I so appreciate it. Please send Christy some blog love by checking out her great posts over at Christy Farmer. Now, on with the show…
I was catching up on my blog reading and found a great post over at Jeff Goins, Writer. He’s one of those awesome bloggers who does crazy things like point out the truth, ask questions and make you think. Jeff’s blog post ‘What Would You Do If You Couldn’t Fail?’ focused on how fear holds us back from doing what we really want to do because we are afraid to fail. Some of his thoughts I could really relate to both in my personal and my writing journey (although I’m not sure how you separate those at times, or if you should).
“…more often than not, we don’t fail. The things we fear will happen don’t.”
That was my experience when I drove to St. Louis to work on book research in August. I planned on going in May, but I conveniently got pneumonia. Not that pneumonia is ever convenient. Then a lot of life circumstances happened. Finally there was no excuse, in August I would only be an hour away from St. Louis visiting family. I started to make up excuses not to go: I was too tired from the visit, I would have to spend more money that wasn’t really in the budget right now, the weather was so hot I might get heat stroke. Crappy Excuse Trolls reared their fuzzy little heads by the dozen. (See Kristen Lamb’s blog for a definition of Crappy Excuse Trolls.)
The truth was that I was afraid. Afraid to do what I had never done before, afraid to be uncomfortable and push myself, and afraid that all my plans would evaporate into failure. So what did I do? I did it afraid.
“Fear is overcome like any enemy – inch by inch, one small victory at a time.”
If you wait until you are unafraid, you may not accomplish much. Stepping out in faith towards your dreams is scary, but small steps add up to a solid path moving towards where you want to be. The first time I took a writing class I thought I was going to throw up right in the classroom. You, start a new career in writing? At your age? What do you have to say that anyone would be interested in? But I did it afraid, and discovered writing was what I wanted to do.
The first time I had a short story read in a critique group, I felt as naked as a newborn baby. Surely, these writers will all laugh themselves out of their chairs with my horrible prose. But I did it afraid and received helpful and encouraging words.
So, despite the fear, two weeks ago I drove to St. Louis by myself and stayed for three days. I went here and there, exploring and taking photographs. The scariest thing of all? Walking into the research library of a museum and answering the librarian when he said in his Librarian Gatekeeper voice “Why are you here?” “I’m a writer doing research,” I managed to squeak out. I waited for the sky to fall, lightning to strike, the ground to swallow me, because surely I was the biggest liar on the face of the earth. You, a writer? The only thing that happened is that I discovered one very important thing: YOU are the one who gives your fears the power they hold over you.
“Nothing is holding you back now. You have permission. You can go back to being safe tomorrow.”
On the other side of your fears is freedom, and once you get a taste, you might not want to go back. Does fear of failure hold you back from making decisions towards your writing dreams? Be bold and make a decision, because no decision is still a decision. A decision to let fear hold you captive.
I encourage you to head on over to Jeff Goins’ blog and read the entire post ‘What Would You Do If You Couldn’t Fail?’ and post an answer to the question. And if you need more encouragement to face your writing fears, check out these links:
- The Fear Surrounding Writing from Write Anything
- Writing Fear: What’s the Worst That Could Happen? at Write For Your Life
- Challenge Yourself to Take on Your Biggest Writing Fear from Procrastinating Writers
- Do It Afraid from Joyce Meyer
Question: Does fear of failure affect your writing? How? What small step could you take to conquer that fear?