Let’s talk about fear

Writing, like any art or craft, is risky business for someone who wants to make a living doing it. The reason is because in order to be a success, an artist has to subject his/herself to criticism. But that goes back to the rejection post — it’s part of the journey. It’s a badge of honor. There’s nothing to fear from someone saying “no.”

“Yes,” on the other hand — that’s some scary stuff. When someone accepts you, suddenly you’re expected to deliver and there’s much more pressure on that than on getting a person to accept in the first place.

It takes a lot of bravery to work toward and deal with either scenario. I went back and forth with each while I was writing my first draft, which is probably why it took almost a year to do. I kept starting and stopping because whenever I got on a roll I freaked myself out by thinking it was happening too fast and I wasn’t ready for it.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

In “The Artist’s Way,” Julia Cameron calls it a creative monster — that little voice that tells you something is wrong. If you are struggling, the monster will say it’s because you’re not a real artist and to go back to your day job. If the creative juices are flowing, the monster will say it’s happening too easily which must mean probably not as good as you think it is.

 

There comes a time when you just have to tell the monster to shut the hell up. I have to do it whenever I’m working on the book. Every. Single. Time. I had to do it when I asked Dianna to read my first draft while I was writing it; I had to do it when I asked my 16-year-old cousin (who is my target audience) and my friend from BBCE (who reads more than anybody I know) to be my second draft readers when the time comes (just a couple of weeks).

The monster is a persistent little bugger, but the only way to beat it is to keep doing the work. Sure, it’s scary. But that’s what separates artists from everybody else.

Don’t just talk about it, BE about it.

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4 thoughts on “Let’s talk about fear

  1. It seems to me that everyone, regardless of age, gender, position in life, etc. ALWAYS carries the need of acceptance and validation that you are OK, and ACCEPTED just the way you are. It also seems to me that the world we live in is so quick to criticize and judge instead of compliment and encourage. WHY IS THAT? I think we are all in this together and everyone is just trying to do the best they can. It’s a world of pretense… and when someone is not feeling very good about themselves they either come across overly sure and confident and easily find fault with others OR just find fault with others period. Why can’t people channel the good energy and lift others up on a regular basis? The world would be a much happier place and people would be more willing to try things creatively or personally. Seems most people are afraid to put themselves out there. How many people with amazing talents will never be noticed because of the fear of criticism and rejection?
    Give people a chance to TRY and be themselves. Just BE! God doesn’t create JUNK!
    Hit a nerve much? 🙂

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