Friday, November 16, 2012

Fear Again: Part 2

Fear of death and disease are very real, tangible fears. Easy to recognize and therefore fairly easy to acknowledge and deal with. I've stated many times here on this blog and to friends and family that I choose not to let fear dictate my life. I choose to not fear but to trust God, not fear and Live.

So if I'm so adamant about 'no fear' in this area of my life what about how I live with fear in other areas?  It hit me the other day that I am not exercising my 'no fear' muscles when it comes to writing a novel, or  getting a job for instance. Fear is paralyzing me in these areas specifically and I think it's time I did something about it. 

But wow - it feels like this fear is harder to handle and I'm not even sure what to call it. Maybe fear of failing miserably, fear of what others will think of you or fear of being out of touch. It's so easy to just put it off for another day. Procrastination is one of my biggest problems. I'll clean the house rather then write, decide I don't have enough time before the kids come home and I don't like to be interrupted so I'll just wait till tomorrow. And then tomorrow something else happens and soon it's 3 years since I've picked up the proverbial pen and written anything more then a grocery list. Procrastination is just my unhealthy response to fear. 

Interestingly enough I'm not a procrastinator in all area's of my life. I plan meals early in the day, I clean my house regularly, I'm almost done my Christmas shopping, I don't like leaving things undone. Except for when it comes to creating. Maybe it's the fear of being vulnerable. Being creative is often a very vulnerable space. You are stating who you are through what you write, or what picture you choose to put on your wall, or the style of house you like, the kind of music that speaks to you, how you like to spend your free time, and those things are very personal. They speak about what's inside, they reveal what kind of person you are, what you love, what you dream about. 

This maybe goes without saying but often the things we fear the most are related to the things that are our biggest desires and dreams. I first started writing for fun when Zach was a baby. I love him so much but he was a very cranky baby and cried a lot (my mother in law liked to say he had distinct sides  - gloom to glory). And I had Ana who was not even 2 when her brother was born. It was a crazy time as other mothers will attest too. I loved reading and books so I decided I needed to do something for me, for my mind, for my spirit and I started writing a novel. And then I told a few people. In the beginning it wasn't a problem. I worked on it when I had spare moments and it morphed and meandered and changed from something terrible to something a bit more coherent but never quite right. 5 years into it I began to regret that I had ever said a thing to anybody. I dreaded the questions: 'how's the book? are you almost done? what's it about? I began to panic a bit. I was stuck somewhere in the middle of the story and couldn't find my way out and everyone expected me to be published by now! (at least that's how it felt). And that feeling of fear and panic did not help me to keep going. 

I'd go to writer's conferences and become motivated for a while and write every day (for about 6 months I even managed to get up at 5am and write till 7 when the kids woke up) but then it would feel difficult again and I'd start thinking about what would happen if someone actually read it, I'd get discouraged and stop for a while. And then, well, cancer wasn't helpful either. 

So here I am. Back at that place I was 2 years ago. And still wondering what to do about it. What to do with life. How to deal with that fear. Then there's the idea of getting a job. I've thought about it for a few months. My oncologist thinks it would be good for me. But my kids are still home by 3 every day and can't quite stay on their own yet and - oh yeah, I'm terrified. I started a resume a few months ago and even sent it to a friend to look over. It overwhelmed me. I mean, I haven't worked for 11 years. So that resume is gathering dust in my inbox. I haven't even looked at the suggested changes. 

Right now these fears of real life seem so much harder then fears of cancer. So weird, I know. But cancer was something I had to meet head on. I couldn't let it win. It was evil and yucky and not something I wanted. So I dealt and deal with that fear daily. But this? This fear of pursuing a dream? What do I do with this? What if I fail? What if I succeed? What if my writing sucks and is worse then anything anyone could imagine and I'm totally deluded? 

And now I've written a post for others to see that chronicles some of my deepest fears and insecurities. I must be crazy. Pressing Publish will not be easy. But I have this sneaking suspicion that I'm not the only one to feel and fear these things and in the spirit of moving on and dealing with fear...

16 comments:

  1. I can really relate to how your feeling, I think being creative runs through our blood! I stop for reasons other than fear but have the same kind of hesitation, sometimes for months..even years at a time. The practical day to day stuff does seem easier compared to investing your heart and mind into something so meaningful.

    I often feel unworthy to create because I don't have enough passion or true desire and without it I worry the result will not be authentic. I don't have any answers but I do know for SURE that you are NOT deluded and you will succeed! Your so talented and no matter what happens ..You have learned and accomplished so much! I love you!

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    1. Heather - that's so true. Without the right amount of passion it often feels flat and not authentic. I have to think about that for a bit!

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  2. I have a few thoughts, maybe it was the dream I had about you years ago, where you looking lovely are entertaining guest who have come to have you sign your book for them....or maybe mother love! Still I have read some of the "book" So I say if it writing you feel lead to then write...and not for anyone but yourself.
    Because after all is said and done, you are a amazing and have an amazing story to tell!

    Love you no matter what you choose, just because you are you!

    Mom

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    1. Mom - I sometimes think about that dream - usually fondly. Love you too.

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  3. Maybe it isn't just fear... maybe it's also a feeling of "super-excited" and you don't know if it's okay to be that excited about something so personally gratifying!?!?! Sister... be personally gratified! Plus, think of all the writing you ARE doing... you're doing it! You have started. It's like scribbling on the first page of a perfectly fresh journal; once you get that first crisp page out of the way, the rest of the writing and page-filling can just flow. Excited right along with you to see where this can go.

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    1. Kristin - I wonder if that's part of it. In the past I've felt that it's too fun to be taken seriously. How can you pursue something that doesn't pay you (yet!) and has no real outward purpose. That's a big hurdle in my mind. I think you're on to something!

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    2. I know that when God plants a dream in our hearts he is the one who will bring it about. We just have to give Him a willing heart and the time. You go girl and let Him show you all he has for you to write

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  4. I can definitely relate to much of what you said. It is scary to open up our hearts for everyone to see. For me it isn't writing a novel (I'm in awe of anyone who would even try that!) but sharing songs I write. I imagine people rolling their eyes at videos I imagine posting... but I've always been too scared to do more than share with my church and a few others. I think perfectionism makes me procrastinate too.

    Anyway, I wanted to pass on a link to a post Beth Moore wrote recently specifically for new writers. Might be encouraging for you. :)

    http://blog.lproof.org/2012/11/to-new-writers-with-love.html

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  5. I write for a living. I still haven't started my novel. And your writing doesn't suck. I have no idea what your educational background is - have you considered getting writing-related work or going to school in a writing-related program?

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    1. Lori - I thought you were a writer. What sort of things do you write? And I have thought of classes. I've attended the Surrey International Writers Conf twice. I kind of think of that as a weekend of school with really great authors as the teachers. If you haven't heard of it you should check it out. It is very awesome.

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    2. So here I am, nearly two months later writing a reply. I used to do a lot of journalism (newspaper and magazine articles). I still do them occasionally. I want to look at doing more essay-style writing for magazines now, rather than reporting. But I'll do reporting if it's on an issue that really tickles my fancy! My bread and butter is working as a web writer for the city. A writers' festival would probably be great for getting me into more of an essay, first-person writing mode.

      Classes really depend on what type of writing you want to do. I've met some fantastic writers who took Print Futures at Douglas College - they all work in marketing/communications of some sort. But if you're looking more at personal story-telling, you may not need anything other than to just keep writing, meeting other writers, and (the hard part) pitching your work.

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  6. I think we all have fear of stepping outside of ourselves, following our passion because it takes that which makes "us" us and puts it out there for public view. I have heard that writers should get used to hearing "no", it's just part of that life. Until one day you hear "yes". The "no(s)" on the journey serve to review and research, always improving, always better than yesterday. And on the other front, I suspect that many of us harbour that fear of death that creeps into the night. Those who personally have experienced cancer have a unique perspective that only they can understand. Others may have had a loved one die suddenly out of the blue without warning, and those thoughts then creep in, maybe that's in me too. Myself, my mother's brother and sister both died from pancreatic cancer, the older I get the more that seeps into my brain - is that a genetic issue? It is so untreatable it is a dark fear I have. Uncle Steve interacts with many many cancer patients now as a driver for the Canadian Cancer Society, just yesterday he took one lady for what was her final all clear appointment. When he dropped her off he said, unless I meet you again socially, I never hope to see you again. :-) Which was met with a heartfelt "thanks" and great smile. Anyway, I think whatever fears we are harbouring, we might look in the mirror each morning and say "today life is good, so what is there to accomplish". Finally - re dreams of how to accomplish that which is dear to our hearts, I'll step out on a limb here and suggest that a very interesting read is "The Secret". I'm laughing at some of the eyeball rolling this will be met with by those who read your blog, but it does have interesting insights. :D

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    1. Hi Aunt Elizabeth, I'm familiar with the whole hearing no before you hear yes. I think I will be totally pumped at my first no cause it will mean that I put myself out there - I finished something! Thanks for reminding me of the Secret - I might give it a try. And I didn't know that Uncle Steve drove cancer patients. That is great. I met many drivers waiting for patients during my many appointments. What a great way to serve.

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  7. What a great post. Thanks for sharing it Heidi. I have to agree - fear is what keeps me from writing, or writing only things that are safe and non-controversial. Fear is also what keeps me from commenting on other blogs too. So I'm at least de-lurking for a moment to say - way to go - here's to more fearless writing!

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    1. Thanks Karina. Just this evening I was thinking about some things I could write about but had crossed them all off my list as too personal, too revealing, too real. Maybe I need to rethink some of those things. Thanks for de-lurking to say hi.

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