Fear of Writing? Just Stop.

Fear.
Fear of foe.
Fear of pain.
Fear of death.

All innate fears hard-wired into our DNA for survival as the cavemen our species once were.
Flash forward thousands of years and now our society looks at fear as a weakness, not the strength it once was.

Someone that is said to be fearful today is thought to be incapable of ability, and therefore incapable of “success”.

We have attempted to cage fear and hold it at bay in all areas of our life. But why?
Why do we see our default protection mechanism as a bad thing? Why run away from the one thing that keeps us alive?

So much with which humans were originally equipped, today, we have so diligently mocked or fought or fled from, and it is in this illogical and irrational view that now so many of us succumb to the one thing we fear most: The feeling of fear itself.

I guess we heard President Roosevelt’s words but chose not to heed. Pity.

We assume that to acknowledge fear in our lives is the same as failing. When the former has nothing to do with the latter. Failure comes from the untried, not the tried, for in the attempt of trying comes the gift of correction which brings us and our works one step closer to success!

In today’s article, I want to prove to you that fear, if met head-on, will allow you to act upon, execute and produce to your heart’s content, in any endeavour you choose, but specific to this talk, in writing.

Let’s go back to Square One:

You’re at home.
You have free time.
No one is bothering you and you’re not sleepy and you’re very alert…but you find yourself doing anything but writing!

You’re washing floors, you’re playing a computer game, you’re watching a rerun on the History Channel for the umpteenth time, its value now, only that through time itself the episode has become history. You’ve dashed out to Walgreen's, or Shoppers for Canadian folks, with no have-to shopping list but a mere thought that there maybe beauty products out there worth test-driving if you ever have that Pulitzer Prize winning novel gala at The Plaza in New York City.

Yep. You’ve gone that far to avoid, nay I say flee, from fear.

Stop.

No, I mean, right this minute, stop in your tracks. Physically stop moving.

Stand right where you find yourself. Stand completely still.

Stop focusing your eyes. Stop thinking. Just breathe. And ask yourself, “ Why? Whisper it out loud to yourself, “Why?

“Why be afraid? I am not in harms way. There is no foe, no pain, no imminent death. There is only intelligence and creativity inside my brain begging to explode onto the page.”
Then whisper to yourself, “Stop. Just stop.”

Now, without further conscious thought, get back to your writing area — walk, run, drive — sit down, breathe in a long breath and begin to write down or key out words…any words…words with no meaning — funny, sad, mad, silly, intelligent — just words, to sand away your thought-to-fingers-to-paper/keyboard rust.

Now, glance back at your WIP (work in progress), leisurely re-read what you last wrote (NO thought to edit!) so your mind is “back there”, inside that world, and continue the tale for the next 20 minutes to half hour. Type only and exactly what you see in your mind’s eye, that singular scene you planned all along to tell the world.

Then stop. Sit back. Breathe.
Get up, go make a coffee or get a drink.

Let your mind digest what you just produced, no forced conscious thought of it, just allow your body and mind to float, and after 10–15 minutes, sit forward again and write out the next bit of your tale, the next scene you see in your mind’s eye.

Continue this exercise without conscious analysis of your production, up and until you feel your brain becoming weary.

Once weary, STOP. Do not force creation in a tired state. That is when mistakes occur which can reinforce negative associations to your work.

Save the document. Sit back, finish your drink and quietly luxuriate in your creation, a once invisible gem now birthed onto the page!

Repeat this process every time my original parameters of your life converge — free time, no people bothering, not sleepy and alert — but you find yourself fleeing once again because of fear.
If you’re washing walls or baking cookies or reading someone elses book, all forms of escape…stop.

Physically stop. And ask yourself, “Why?” and respond with, “Stop. Just stop.” Tell yourself there is nothing to fear. You are safe.

Disappointment, embarrassment and shame you think you will experience in your attempt to write, even if they did exist, are NOT life-threatening.

At this point, you are simply writing the draft version of your yet-to-be-honed tale, the version no one sees, so the above cannot and will not occur.

You are simply forgetting that you have control over your reaction to ill-perceived danger, so when the running away begins…stop. Come back to reason. Ask why? And say Stop to fear.
If you continue this process;
  • the less time you will spend running away,
  • the less time you will feel disappointment, embarrassment and shame in yourself for not trying at all,
  • the less time you will waste in life, in general,
  • and the less time it will take to get in front if your WIP and produce.
Eventually, your brain will train itself to acknowledge this irrational fear, and the result will be;
  • more time practising your craft,
  • the better your skill will become from that increased practice,
  • the less fear reigns its head because confidence in your increased ability has now taken its place.
Know This: This is not a quick fix.

Every time you flee:
You will have acknowledge you are running away.
You will have to be willing to physically stop in your tracks, and say STOP to that fear.
But every time you do, a chip off that fear will be made. I promise you.
Every. Single. Time.


Let me know in the Comments section how this process is working for you.
We are all working alongside that ingrained fear, and with one more word laid down, we are all conquering it.

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