Writers go to war – against fear

The_Scream

Fear personified...

Fear has many weapons in its arsenal. It makes your heart pound, your palms sweat, your skin prickle. It makes you shiver, feel nauseous, become lightheaded.  It shortens your breath, curdles your stomach, disrupts your sleep, scatters your thoughts…

But the most dangerous weapon at fear’s disposal? Its ability to make you doubt yourself and tempt you to give up…

The good news: writers are fighting back against fear.  How? By exposing fear’s nasty tricks and demonstrating how they, personally, have defeated it.

Veronica Roth has outed her fear demons on her blog, revealing she suffers with anxiety about whether her writing will please some key people whose opinion she cares about. But she has also declared that she doesn’t want to be a writer ruled by fear. She is determined not to consult her fear when she makes decisions, in life and in writing.

To me, that’s courageous. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.’

Veronica is not the only one persisting in the face of fear. Ali from Aliventures admits she gets scared whenever she tackles something new. For a long time, Ali thought that meant she was a coward. But over the years, she’s realised it’s incredibly normal to be afraid.

Ali believes that when tackling fear, you shouldn’t try to convince yourself you’re not afraid. Instead, accept that you’re scared. Don’t dwell on it, just acknowledge it. And then do it (whatever it is that scares you) anyway.

Ali’s strategy mirrors Nicole McDonald’s (from Damsel in the Dirty Dress) philosophy in life: ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’ This damsel has been struggling with writer’s block but has slowly but surely been defeating it.

I’m fighting fear too, all the time. And right now, I’m winning. I’ll share my own personal battle in a separate post later this week, but for the moment, I’m interested in hearing from you – are you a writer fighting fear? How are you going with it? What strategies do you use? Let’s share our tools and win the war between writers and fear for good.

P.S. Don’t forget about the Power of Tension Blogfest that Rachel Morgan and I are hosting from 23-27 May!

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8 Comments

Filed under Creativity, Fear, Writers, Writing

8 responses to “Writers go to war – against fear

  1. laradunning

    For me the best rememdy is to not second guess your writing. Once you start doing that then doubts flow in.

  2. A great topic. Fear has held me back for a many years. I look forward to reading more about your triumphs.

  3. I often use my writing to face down my fears and weaknesses, but as to my fear about the writing itself I’ve just had to power through all bull-headed. I’ve grown a thick skin over the years, especially since my hubby wasn’t so supportive of my writing for the first many years.

  4. Thanks for the link! This is a great topic to tackle; I think fear makes so many of us shy away from reaching for our goals. Writing can be a pretty terrifying activity, too — especially when we get to the stage of showing our work to other people.

  5. karrie

    “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” the affirmation and the book by Susan Jeffers has been a godsend to me. Thanks for bringing it up. Not exactly fear of writing, but related–going to writers workshops and conferences is what gets me. I panic and feel like I’m in the wrong place. But its something I want to do, so I “Feel the Fear” suck it up and do it. Never have I regretted it!

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