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Feel the Fear!

Plucked from Her Decks by daysfalllikeleavesI have a bit of a confession.

I’ve spent the last few months living in fear.

I took on the task of organising Get Writing 2012, then spent the rest of the year panicking that I would get it wrong, that it would all end in disaster, that the day just wouldn’t pan out in the way that I hoped it would. In the end, despite the best attempts of good ol’ Blighty’s weather, it turned out to be a fabulous day. Everything went to plan, not a problem at all, a fun time was had by everyone. At least that’s how it looked.

In reality, there were issues. Speakers were delayed, technology decided not to play ball, a little bit of organiser’s magic had to be spun. But on the outside, it all looked just fine. The net result was a resounding success and calls of ‘It was the best one ever!’

And that got me thinking. What if I’d given in to the fear? What if I’d frozen, given up when I first felt daunted, not listened to the encouragement of those that supported me?

I can tell you what would have happened. Lots of meetings wouldn’t have happened. Lots of work wouldn’t have been shared. Lots of writers wouldn’t have received that little bit of inspiration that drove them on to their next amazing project.

El Capitan by rrobertsphotoNow what if I didn’t take the next step up Mount Publication?

Right now, I feel on the edge of a precipice. I have struggled to find the urge to pick up that pen, for fear that I’ve already written my best piece. Sound familiar to anyone out there? In actual fact, we all feel the fear at some point. It might be the fear of sharing your work with others for the first time at a writers circle, or it could be the fear of believing in yourself enough to put what is in your head down on paper. But please trust me on this one, if it is fear of failure, put it aside… home truth coming up…

Everyone fails at something, sometime.

Ok, recovered from that little belter? Good. Now listen hard. It’s not the failing, or the risk of failing that matters. It’s what you do with it. Let it inspire you, drive you on, focus your senses. Hell, it might even be that little nugget of emotion that you have been trying to build into your writing all this time – so use it!

Writing needs heart, emotion comes from the heart, passion is the embodiment of what is in your heart. If you can’t feel it, you will struggle to write it. Embrace the emotions that run through you when you think about the tale you want to tell and let them spill out onto the page. It just might be that the failure you were afraid of would have been the result of trying to force it, instead of just listening to what you feel inside.

Waimea Canyon by FireSpiritDesignsOnce you have learnt to recognise the full range of emotions you can instill them into your characters and the genuine heart of the story will follow. You never know, it might even take you to places you never imagined – at least, not consciously.

So, the moral of the story is this:

Don’t let fear of failure stop you from taking the first step, or the next step up Mount Publication. But on the other hand, don’t let the planned journey stop you from letting your heart decide which path to take.

Title image by daysfalllikeleaves.

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9 Comments

  1. Avatar Anne Burner says:

    Thank you….I needed that little pep talk this morning.

  2. Besides, it is all about the journey as well as the end, right? The things you learned while you stood over the edge and looked down from the pinnacle will amaze you. I know I am right there, right now. I still have more to climb, but the view is great from here.

  3. Avatar J.L. Mbewe says:

    Thanks! So needed to hear that.

  4. Avatar Libertine says:

    You know what, I’m chuffed to bits that it’s struck a chord with you guys but, ironically, another part of my life has me standing on the edge looking down and even re-reading this myself has kicked me into touch!

    It certainly pays to stop and look at the view once in a while, doesn’t it?

    Keep at it folks xx

  5. The only sure way to fail in writing is not to write. The only sure way to fail in being published is never submit.

    Great article.

  6. Avatar JL Merrow says:

    Great article, Sandra!

    I hate to quote a Dr Pepper ad, but sometimes we all need to look at what we’re so afraid of and ask ourselves, “What’s the worst that could happen?” ;D

  7. Avatar Libertine says:

    So true Ms Merrow, so I’ll be expecting that mainstream novel sometime soon then, right?! 🙂

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