Frankly, I don’t like high places. I can’t look down. I’m also afraid of the ocean. I only go out far enough to get my feet wet, and only snorkel in three feet of water or less. But I’ll get on a sail boat any day and ride the ragged edge. Go figure. I’d get on one of those crab boats in Deadliest Catch too. I love the water. I just don’t like to get in the water. Hell, the pool in my backyard is gorgeous! I’ve swam in it maybe a dozen times total. The hot tub is a different story. I have other fears. I detest flying. HATE. IT! Every freakin’ time I get on an airplane I can see us going down and me not able to do a damn thing about it.
What scares me the most however is phone calls in the middle of the night. We’ve had a few over the years, all of them manageable, thank, God. This past Friday night my daughter and her fiancÃ©, who are living with us, were out. Since I had to be up early the next morning (as in 5:45 a.m. early gah!) hubby and I went to bed early. By midnight we were asleep. At 1:42 a.m. the phone rings. Before the first ring had ended I was up in bed and two million thoughts had gone through my head. It was my daughter letting us know she and her guy were spending the night at her brother’s. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’m glad she called, really, I am, but damn if she didn’t terrify ten years off of me. They were home ninety minutes later and woke us up for the second time. Kids.
Okay so this isn’t about me, it’s about you. And writing, and why some of you don’t. Even though you say you want to, and do sort of, sometimes, but not regularly. Why? The fear of failure? Well, we all have to fail to succeed. The fear of fame? That you can manage. The fear of getting published then feeling as if the entire world is staring at you? Don’t get online, write. Afraid of bad reviews? They are a fact of life. We all get them. Deal with it. Fear of not being able to write a second book? You’ll never know until you try. After publication there are fears as well. Will my house keep me? What happens if my editor leaves? What happens if my new editor hates me? What happens if my agent dumps me? What happens if my sales tank? What happens if the muse deserts me? What happens if the trends change and no one wants to read what I write?
All very valid concerns, and most of them, completely out of our control. We can only control our work, our attitude, and our energy. And while all of those, What if’s can happen to a writer, and have happened to many of us at one point or another in our careers, all we can do is write forward. Worrying is energy wasted. I know, I know, easier said then done. It’s true. But sometimes we fear what we don’t understand. So I think the biggest step toward not worrying is to identify exactly what scares us, then unearth the reason behind it, and then plan for the worst case scenario of the fear coming to fruition, and then, the plan of attack after the fact. It’s a reality plan. So, as an example: if the trends change or my sales have consistently been in the toilette, I have two choices. Quit, or reinvent myself. Quitting is easy peasy. Reinventing oneself? Difficult. But not impossible. Movie stars do it all of the time, and so do writers. Dig deeper, expand your creativity, and writing horizons and produce something new and fresh. Then pick out a kick ass name.
I’m a firm believer in where there is a will there is a way, but damn if fear can’t screw it up along the way. I think the best way to deal with fear is being prepared to defeat what we are afraid of.
So, what are you afraid of, and what do you plan to do about it?
Share, share, share!