When I think back to my life in high school, I can't believe how I juggled band, choir, art club, school newspaper, honors classes, a part-time job, and scribbling stories every spare moment. College wasn't much different, though theater, music ministry, and literary magazine were my passions of choice. I never pulled an all-nighter in college and still graduated magna cum laude. After college, I worked full time, went to grad school, did freelance graphic design projects, and served as editor and publisher of an international literary magazine, About Such Things.
I used to be a high energy person, so why the paralysis at this phase of life?
I'd become irrationally afraid. About setting up my business wrong. About getting bad feedback that makes the story wrong. About my title choice and cover design ideas. About failing in a huge, public way.
A funny thing about listening to fear--it takes away your power to contradict it.
Getting into better headspace about the project came when I let voices other than the voice of fear really sink in. I went back and reread notes from the three groups of people who'd critiqued over the years. Sure they pointed out weaknesses, but they also had a lot of immensely encouraging things to say--that it's an important story, that it's moving, that it kept them up late reading. Friends and family alike kept asking how the book project was coming along, wanting to know when they could get their hands on it. Even my daughter was itching for this book to come to fruition.
When you're in the presence of other writers, it can be easy to forget what an extreme act of bravery it is to create worlds, characters, stories and put them out for public consumption. Non-writers are always amazed by it. I think in our circles we're only beginning to talk about the reality of fear when we create. Alex's Insecure Writers Support Group is one such place, and I'm always encouraged by folks' posts.
See, bravery isn't a lack of fear, it's a willingness to move forward in hope despite the fear. There are still moments when the voice of fear picks up on my doubts and shouts them at me. But I turn away and listen to the voices of hope instead.
Because hope energizes. Hope keeps on trying. Hope is patient. Hope believes.
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Blog Ramble NewsSee my interview with Anglea Felsted at My Poetry and Prose Place, discussing how my life experiences do and don't show up in my novel Never Gone.
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Have you wrestled with fear? How do you tune into the voice of hope instead?