Sunday, 16 November 2014

Fear and What ifs....

Last week you might have seen my post about the two challenges that I am tackling together in November. On Wednesday I saw a blog post about fear in writing and I started wondering, am I really that brave or is it fear manifesting itself with another face?
My first thought was, that is crap. I like a challenge, I thrive on broadening my horizons, and need to see if I am capable of doing more than what I believe I can. My second thought however, made me stop. What if there is some truth there? What if…

I am afraid to fail 
To some extent we all fear failure and we can drive ourselves crazy with the ‘what ifs’ in our lives, relationships, jobs, writing, and so on. The list of what ifs can be longer than my arms can hold. Then I look back over my life and realise that it isn’t failure that I fear. I had my own business that had to be closed down after ten years. It effectively failed due to economic reasons, but I made the decision and have to this day not regretted that. Not the company failing, because I loved the work, but making the decision not to hang on, but to move on.

I am afraid of success 

How can anyone be afraid of success? To my mind that is what we want after all, isn’t it? But success is not an easy thing to achieve and once you have it, keeping it takes more hard work and more sacrifices than what we might be able to live with.
Some people don’t like change. Some people may not want the responsibilities that come with success. Or for some the challenge is gone once success walks in the front door, and now they don’t know what to do. We are not all the same, and these fears are not trivial to them.
I have been in that position, and some people might say that I still am, but what if the success people see in me is not the success I see for myself? Yes, my work is challenging and stimulating, and so are my creative outlets. However, what if my ‘success’ is not exactly in line with my definition of success? I don’t have an answer to this question, yet.

I fear rejection from my readers
When I started to write my first book, it never occurred to me that someone would read it. While that may seem stupid or naïve to you, I wrote my first book for me. I love writing and I love writing the stories of the characters that live inside my head.
Since that first book, I have written a few more, and wizened up to the fact that there is a risk that people might not like my books, or the genres that I write in.
I am grateful for people who take the time to review my books (hint, hint J), but it is still humbling to know that there are readers that do like my books and have told me so to my face.
Not all is moonshine and roses though. My stories, most of them to be honest, contain explicit sex and/or scenes with violence, and that will not be to everyone’s taste. From that point of view it will be naïve of me to expect 5 star reviews from each and everyone that reads them.
I still write for myself for the pure pleasure of it, and will continue to do so, despite the risk that readers may not like my books.

I hit that blank page (or writers block)
What’s that? A blank page? Oh yes, time for my story now!
As someone who has never had to face that dreaded blank page, I can only sympathise for those of you who have. My hat off to you if saw, battled and overcame it.
A few people have asked me what to do when they get stuck. My answer: write about it. Writing out your frustrations, your feelings about feeling blocked or craving to tear you hair out, is usually the advice that I come up with. Maybe not the best advice, but hey, when all is said and done, you wrote a few hundred words. Awesome! Congratulate yourself and move on. Now finish that story, will ya?
No one said all writing is perfect. In fact everyone have heard the quote about first drafts being shit. But where else to start planting roses than in the fertiliser, right? So man up, write about all the crap that is preventing you from writing, then print it and frame it if you want, because you just wrote the biggest load of crap ever. Nothing can be worse, right? Now get back work.

I don’t care about fear
Call me an ostrich with her head in the sand, or tell me that I am in denial, but it is working for me. Fear can be as much of a motivator as a demotivator, and the only difference is in my mind. I refuse to let it rule me. I refuse to let it rule my writing. If the words are not coming, I write about the frustrations and moan about it in one of my journals. Before long those are out of my system, albeit temporarily, and then I can get some writing done.
Those words might be useless and deleted later on, but getting them written is the important thing, fear or no fear.

Is there another fear that stands in the way of your writing or other creative endeavours? How do you deal with it?