Letting in the Fear

Last Friday my daughter and I set off on a spring break adventure to see our family in Southern Idaho.  I packed my laptop and journal.  I even brought an extra journal, as I knew my current one was almost full.

We spent our first night with my mother-in-law.  Dear daughter was bunking with her, so I giddily snuggled into my bed and began pecking away at what I hoped would be a productive late night writing session.  Within half an hour I couldn’t even keep my eyes open and had to stop.  The five-hour drive, champagne with dinner, and social time with my awesome mother-in-law wore me out!

Sadly this was the beginning of my writing cycle for the week.  I have taken my journal everywhere and managed to log a few words here and there, but nothing significant.  Wednesday afternoon was the first time I powered up my laptop since last Friday.  Needless to say, my anxiety has been running high.  Not because I’m on a deadline, but because writing is my release.  I have to get out the words or the tension builds until I feel like I’m going to explode.  Once my nerves are on edge, the real fear sets in.  Its name is I Can’t Write a Novel and sometimes goes by You Are A Terrible Writer, You Should Give Up.

This week I learned that if I stay away from my craft and allow my focus to wander, fear and doubt have room to enter and take hold of my confidence and shake the hell out of it.

As I delved into my work yesterday and today, I felt the fear begin to melt and I remembered something I heard Courtney Carver recently say, “The work quiets fear.”  This is so true!  The more I write, the better I get.  The better I get, the more confident I become.  I am able to say, “I am a writer, and I can write a novel-a damn good one too.”

We stayed with my middle sister for most of our trip.  She is working on breaking into the horse world and beginning to practice photography.  Like me, fear is a huge deterrent to chasing her dreams.  I told her Courtney’s theory about work calming fear and she totally agreed.  There isn’t room to be scared if you are completely focused on your work.

So, my words of wisdom to my readers is not to let a day go by without at least touching your craft.  Write a few words, take a few photos, get on your horse and ride.  Let the joy of creating and doing work you love wash over you at lest for a few minutes.   Remind yourself that you can do anything, and your creations are valuable to you and most likely to someone else as well.

My aim is to write a minimum of twenty minutes a day.  That was working well until we left for vacation.  My next lesson is to figure out how to successfully take my writing habit on the road.  Really, there are always twenty minutes somewhere in the day if one takes time to carve them out and claim them.

“When you start the journey upward, you need to avoid all downward thinking.” Chris Hogan


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