One final post about how to deal with the fear of creating.
Fear looms large in our minds as a block to our writing. Countless clients and students have come to me, clutching their fear baggage, hoping that I have strategies to overturn the fear and release them to create easily. While I do help others deal with fear, it’s not in the way you may think.
- I don’t take each fear, one by one, line them up, and shoot them down with my brilliant logic. Fear is much too resilient for that.
- I don’t dismiss fear with a wave of the hand and tell you to just buck up. That’s a short-term solution that won’t really stick.
- I don’t ignore the fear and hope it will go away. Denial never gets us anywhere.
- I don’t probe endlessly into the depths of fear, trying to understand why your first grade experience made you afraid of writing. That’s your therapist’s job.
Instead, I embrace fear. I relish it. I take my fear baggage by the handle and embark on the journey, baggage and all. I invite you to do the same.
In order to shift to this perspective, you have to become a person who wants to live a really juicy, powerful life. You have to want to overcome obstacles, desire opportunities that reveal your sensitive underbelly to you, and relish chances to stretch beyond your capabilities.
I know that you are this person, because you are a writer. The need to discover, to explore, to learn and grow are all bundled into the writer’s curiosity. If you are not interested in these things, go hang wallpaper instead.
Writing is about life, the depths and the heights. It’s about exploring and shaking things up. It’s about loosening the status quo and inventing new possibilities. Of course the fear beast is going to get riled up. Make friends with your fear beast. Don’t expect the fear to go away and then you’ll be able to write that book, find that agent, sign up for that poetry reading. No, the fear comes with you.
Fear is a sign that you are ALIVE! Take the beating heart, the racing pulse, the sense of threat and danger as signs that you are living large. And isn’t that what you want?
If you are afraid, take it as a good sign that you are dancing at the edge of your life, that you are embracing the glory of being human, and that you are gathering the courage to take your fear by the hand and plunge straight toward what you want. It’s so much more exciting than avoiding your fear.