Monday, March 31, 2014

Fear Will Not Rule Me

Fear will not rule me. It’s a thought my MC has shortly after the book’s inciting event, and it's a big turning point for her. 

See, she’s faced with a decision and while she already knows what she wants to do, she hasn’t acted yet. Blake Synder calls this beat The Debate. The character can still change his or her mind. They can still back out. But my MC realizes that if she doesn’t try, then she’s letting fear win.

It’s the moment she commits to her choice.

She’s afraid, yes, and she accepts that fear. She owns it. And she resolves to move forward anyway.

So, where am I going with this? 

Lately, I’ve been stuck in a holding pattern of sorts. It hasn’t been a lot of fun. Every time I try to start a new story, all these doubts start needling me. Truth be told, it’s been driving me berserkers! I feel like I’m my own worst enemy. 

After doing some serious soul searching, what I’ve realized is that I’m afraid. I’m afraid I’m not good enough, afraid of making the wrong choices, afraid that my writing won’t be marketable.

I’m afraid of failure.

Mind = blown, right? Yeah, I didn’t think so. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re a writer and there’s a decent likelihood you’ve experienced at least some this, too. Heck, even if you’re not a writer you’ve probably been afraid of something.

Here’s the thing, though. I also know that if I let fear paralyze me, I’ve already failed.

They have a saying at my son’s karate school: a black belt is a white belt that never gave up. Writing is a different animal, though, and there is no guarantee that if you keep trying you’ll eventually get from point A to point B. We take that risk the moment we commit to being writers. Writing is like putting a little piece of your soul out there in the world. I write because I love it. I love words, and creating kooky, kickass, characters and the places they inhabit. I love stories that make me feel something. I love telling stories that will make other people feel something.

So fear be damned! Yes, it’s still there, and yes, I’m going to own it. Sometimes I will fail, and that’s okay.

I don’t know who said that the road to success is paved with failures, but the quote resonates with me. Each of our paths will look different. Some will be longer than others. But if you’re not paving the road, then you’re standing still.

I don’t want to stand still.

Now, dear readers, I turn it over to you. What are you afraid of? How do you overcome that fear?


  1. This is the best, Cheryl!

    Fear will not rule me = LOVE! I think I can honestly say that I'm also afraid of failure. Not just in writing, but in all aspects of my life. So this post was PERECT for me. Fear of failure is one of those things I have to push aside and ignore. I just have to move forward no matter what and not care if other people think I'm ridiculous. And I give myslef lots of pep talks! ;)

    These lines resonated with me besides all your awesome quotes. "I love telling stories that will make other people feel something." Wow. Just wow.

    I needed this today. Thank you!!! :)

    1. Thanks, Diane! You are seriously the sweetest person EVAR!!

      Lots of times I don't even recognize what's holding me back, and I just feel... lost. I think naming the fear and realizing that it's okay to be afraid is a big step (for me) toward moving past it. :D

  2. Cheryl, you've captured what I feel perfectly. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at my material and thought -- who the hell am I kidding, I've even had times I felt embarrassed that I've sent out my MS to professionals for consideration.

    I think that's why I surround myself with amazing writers.I think if they can influence my writing, even a little bit, it's going to be okay. I love Nelson Mandela. Here's one of my favorite quotes from him: "It always seems impossible until it's done." Perfect isn't it?

    One thing I know -- you are one of those AMAZING writers I'm fortunate to call a CP and friend. Your words move me so much, and paint a world I could never of imagined.

    I think RWs 2014 resolution should be to gain some confidence! :)