Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fear: Just Another Four Letter Word

I didn't run this morning.  I woke up, and Skippy looked up at me with his big blue puppy dog eyes so I decided to take him for a walk instead.   He's not the best walker.  He stops and sniffs, then he runs, then he barks.  We're working on it.  He's in doggy discipline class.  I forgot the treats though, so I knew there was no way I was going to get anything close to 3 miles in.  I decided to just do a short walk, and I'll go running tonight after work.  I have to make myself accountable. 

Plus, I woke up wanting to work on my story.  Yesterday, I resurrected a Dystopian fantasy I'd started about six months ago.  I'd written almost 20,000 words on the thing and then just stopped.  I don't know why I stopped, because I think it has potential.  Sometimes I stop, because I realize what I've just written is crap, but sometimes I stop because life happens.  I found a short story contest I want to enter, so I'm in the process of paring down the 20,000 words to 5,000 and beefing up the beginning of the story to get it in shape.

I've decided, in order to become a full time writer, I have to be proactive.  I have to be okay sending out my work and getting rejections.  I have to enter contests.  I have to write articles.  In essence, I have to put myself out there.  If you've met me, you know I'm outgoing and you wouldn't think I'd have any problem with self-promotion.  In fact, you could say I am sometimes my own biggest fan.  But for some reason, letting others read my writing has always been SCARY to me, like I'm allowing them to peer inside and see my deepest darkest secrets.  I've broken out of the shell in the last few years, and I've been sending out my work.  I EVEN let my Dad read my unpublished novel.  I never thought in a million years I'd let my Dad read anything, because I worried about his criticism.  He was; however, very supportive and proud of me once I let him see the work shattering all of my unfounded fears. In the back of my mind, I think I knew he would be that way but I was basing my judgment of him on one random incident from childhood and holding onto a fear that I should have overcome a long time ago.   

I'm afraid of heights  I always have been.  And sometimes when you have a huge fear, the best thing you can do is take steps to overcome it.  As a child, I used to push myself to ride roller coasters.  I went zip-lining.  I even tried to rappel once (it did not happen!).  I would climb to the top of mountains and peer over the edge, ignoring the feeling of my heart beating out of my chest.  And that's the same thing I need to do with my writing.  I need to get over this irrational fear of being criticized and being rejected.  Both have already happened, and what happened to me?  Absolutely nothing! I'm still writing.  I'm still pushing forward, and the only way I'm going to get there is to know I can do it and to empower myself.   Send out my work.  Read each rejection and learn something from it, and keep pushing forward--keep promoting myself until I eventually get there.  That's what successful people do.  They propel themselves forward, and they act like they're not afraid even when they're terrified. 

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