I’ve been thinking of fear a great deal lately. And not fear in the sense of horror films or the like. Fear in the sense of what builds in our minds and prohibits us from doing something. Some may call it anxiety or worry or uncertainty. For me it’s more than that. It’s more than just a trifling, passing thought. Fear that gets in our way of accomplishing something is far more serious than that. It has the power to shape our lives, and this is not a good thing. And I know I’m not alone in this.
Fear has largely controlled my life. I can say with complete certainty that I have made many many decisions based on the fear of something. Judgment, failure, exposure, inadequacy, attention…the list can keep going for some time.
My greatest fear, and that which has weighed on me the most, is my fear of not being good enough. I’m what you can call a perfectionist control-freak. I want to do everything myself with no help, and I want it perfect the first time. If it’s not? Well, you’d hate to be in my brain then. And spoiler alert: it’s RARELY perfect the first time.
But the way that this has impacted my life in the way that upsets me the most is my paralyzing fear of finding out I’m a no-good hack of a writer. That I couldn’t write and get a book published if publishers were just handing out contracts to everyone and their mama. And so instead of trying, failing, and getting back up again to fight another page, I don’t try. I stop. I freeze. I plan. I organize. I do everything but put some fucking words down on the page. Because If I don’t get the words down, no one can see how shitty my story really is. And my dream of being a professional writer will never get squashed (mind you,it will never be fulfilled either, but we don’t talk about that.)
But I have a plan of action for at least mitigating my fear and making it my bitch. November is NaNoWriMo, and I will be participating. The challenge is to write at least 2,000 word a day in order to finish a complete, unedited novel by month’s end. This means that if I can push away the nauseating fear of failure, I will have at least a 50,000 word first draft manuscript by November 30th. And then the worst will finally be over. There will be much revision and re-writing. But the fear of never reaching success that’s stops me dead at my computer will be over. I will have something at least.
Now it’s just a matter of conquering my fear by Sunday….
All this leads me to saying that I’m curious to hear from others what they fear most.Not monsters under the bed or that strange noise coming from downstairs in the middle of the night. What fear gets in your way of being who you want to be or doing what is most in your heart? Everything is less scary when you have someone else who understands. I’m here to understand.