Today, I’m starting my series of posts on how I overcame my fear of writing (and a great many other things).
Hearing that word, even reading that word…it can send a chill down your spine. It can send goosebumps skittering across your skin.
It has the power to destroy you.
But ONLY if you let it.
Here’s the thing about fear. It’s not about what you think it might be about. For me, my fear of writing wasn’t the root of my fear; it was just a symptom. The root of my fear was about the life I was living.
Here’s a little flashback to my life in 2013. I was in my early 30s, in a job where I was treated poorly (and I mean POORLY, harassment was a tame word for what I experienced), surrounded by people who saw I was low and kept me there. I guess you could say I hit ‘rock bottom’: depressed, miserable, and crying most days.
Until one day, in the middle of a crying session, I had an epiphany. Why was I letting the actions of other people make me so miserable? Why couldn’t I have a better life. Why didn’t I DESERVE a better life? Was it only reserved for them? Why didn’t they think I deserved a better, happier life? Why didn’t I think I deserved a better, happier life?
Thus began a time of intense reflection for me as I delved into the root of that fear. I realized that people were unhappy with me because I wasn’t living up to THEIR definition of success for my life. Their definition included me being married with kids by the time I hit 30, and I hadn’t met their goal. I want to get married, I want to have kids, but I refuse to marry an asshole to get to that goal. I realized some people would rather I be unhappy and married than unmarried (how fucked up is that?). It didn’t matter to them how many degrees I have (I’ve got several), it doesn’t matter that I kickass in my day job (despite the assholes I’ve dealt with over the years) – they will only see me as a successful woman if I am married and have kids. None of my other achievements matter to them (this is why hardly anyone in my life knows I’m an author today – if they won’t see me as successful, I’m certainly not going to share this part of my life with them).
Once I realized how others defined success for my life, then I had to figure out how I wanted to define success for my life. What was success to me personally, financially, professionally, or otherwise? Cue more introspection.
I always loved writing. Maybe not since I was a kid, but definitely since I was a teenager. Reading was an escape from my not-so-great life growing up. From there, I started writing to get my feelings out, since I didn’t really have anyone to share them with. I wrote poetry, short stories, journaled…whatever medium I wanted. I always enjoyed expressing myself through writing or other creative mediums (I’m shit at drawing and painting, for example, but I still enjoy doing it and expressing myself through it). In 2013, during the worst of it, I’d often pull my laptop out and start writing during a crying session.
One day, I finally let myself say those words that had been lurking in the back of my mind: I want to be a writer.
Those were the most terrifying words I’d ever spoken.
One fear replaced the other: I had no idea how to start. I knew nothing about plot or show vs. tell or any of that other stuff. What if I mess up? What if I do this wrong? What if, what if, what if…
Life, I’ve learned, is conquering one fear only to move on to another. I mentioned in a previous post that once I realized the core of my fear wasn’t writing, it was actually living and enjoying life, I was able to work towards conquering it. I think the real truth is acknowledging your fear. Once I realized I was afraid to enjoy life because others didn’t think I should, I was able to start the journey towards conquering that fear. Acknowledge, Conquer, Then move on to the next.
ACT. ACT on your fears. Acknowledge what you’re afraid of, work to Conquer those fears, and Then move on to the next fear. You might be working to conquer different fears at once, I certainly am. I’m still trying to figure out what success means to me, and I’m still trying to conquer my fear of failing as an author. You can have more than one fear at a time, you can work to conquer more than one fear at a time.
Fear has the power to destroy you, but only if you let it.
So, how did I start my journey as a writer and conquer my next fear? Tune in to my next post to find out.
Do you have a fear or know someone else who does? Comment on this post and let me know (if you’re receiving the blog by email, just click “Read More” to navigate to the blog page to comment).
This is Post 82 of 100 as part of the #100DaysofMKAuthorLife.
P.S. – Shameless Plug Time! The first in my new Seaside Valleria series, Rush (Hector & Millie), is coming out on TUESDAY! If you haven’t pre-ordered yet, you can do so via the links below.