Me Against Me (Fear vs. Courage)
I’ve noticed that I’m spending more time on everything except finishing my manuscript review; it’s a pattern I’ve seen before. When I near completion of something, my inclination is to stop and move on to another project. Some might call this flighty, others irresponsible. Some might figure I just don’t’ know what I want in life, while others may think I’m lazy.
But, I know it’s something worse; a secret I don’t discuss because we don’t show weaknesses, right? I’ve alluded to issues of self-doubt in previous posts, but I’m going to identify the root of my problem right now: Fear. Simple, right? I’m afraid of everything. Thoughts of failure bog me down; I’m intimidated by the slightest possibility of success; unsure of my abilities; and overly concerned with how my work stacks up against so many other people that are better than me.
Fear rules my life. I’m confident in my work only because I’ve done the same thing for so long. I’ve tried other things before, but always run back to what I know because it’s easier; because I can’t fail. I stopped writing many years ago after creating a mini-graveyard of incomplete stories because the publishing world was too formidable. Why would they publish my work, after all, with so many talented writers out there?
Nearly two years ago, I scraped together some courage and defiantly started a novel (my personal Revolutionary War, if you will). In January, the story was complete, with a beginning, middle and end. Yes! I finally beat fear…or did I? Failure preoccupies my mind. What if I can’t find an agent? What if, by some miracle, I find an agent, and they can’t sell my story? What if, by another miracle from God, they sell my story, but no one likes it. I could keep going, but this thought process is so crippling, my fingers won’t form the letters to those words.
The goal of this post is not to whine about how difficult writing and the publishing business are; anyone who writes knows that. My purpose is to acknowledge something that stifles me as a writer, and as a person and sabotages any attempt at change. I know it’s going to be a daily struggle between courage and fear, but I’m tired of being fear’s pawn.
So, today, I challenge: bring it on, fear. I’m ready; and I’ve got 30+ years of frustration to back me up! (Sorry, I’m a woman; I can’t divulge the exact number of years, but can’t, with good conscience claim only 20+).