Fear

Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Stumbling through the world we find our place. It can be at a table, desk or it could be standing all day waiting tables; either way, we’re finding.

Through our stumbling and our constant search, we may come to an impasse, a place where everything has fallen down around us and we discover that we’re stronger than we believed, or that we may be lost in a cycle of failure.

Failure is normal, and regardless of what your parents say, failure is good, we can learn from failure.

In failure we can find the things we’ve done wrong previously. We can discover far off discontent that we never knew existed. But only through the times we fail can this come to fruition.

Falling on our faces, dirt in our ears, sand caked in our hair, that is the failure which brings about the change we need for ourselves.

We’ve entered the time when our life or writing are the lifeblood of our souls.

Life-blood, that’s a hell of a thing. It’s the thing which drives us, pushes us and makes us commit to the life of a writer, the long nights, dreary weekends stuck in the house and the celebratory days when we get published.

Our life-blood pours through us, it connects us to each other and makes us strive to write better through the failures, through the droughts of lost words and at the end of it, we discover.

In this discovery, we find ourselves, not the failures we thought we were, and certainly not the people our parents believe us to be.

It’s not our failures which are added up, but our successes.

 

What reality is this? What fantasy have we created that makes us feel more important than those around us?

The dawn comes and with it the light, the brightness and the foundations of who we are. Throughout our writing there are two things that come together as a means to halt our writing.

  1. Our lack of faith in our writing.
  2. Those who wish to distract us or deride us from the task of writing.

Each of these are part of the Grand Bargain of Writing.

The bargain is that we knowingly accept what we’re getting into, even if we don’t understand what we’re getting into.

We knowingly accept that we may become famous as other writers have done. But, we also take into account that we’re alone in our task of writing.

The solitude of writing is one the things a lot of people either can’t handle or they’re worried about other things going wrong.

For myself, the things I worry about are the ability to multitask all of the things I have going on. From day-job, blog, wife, kids and my fiction writing.

My biggest worry is that something will get lost in balancing act.

My reason for this has a lot to do with childhood and the things I’ve dealt with my entire life concerning abandonment issues, which plays into the worry of losing my wife or kids through the solitary life of a writer.

I risk losing things I care about because I’m a writer and have known that for over twenty years, it just took me a while to take a chance on it, and that my wife supports me and tells me she just wants me to write makes the risk less, but it’s still in the back of my mind every time I sit down.

My day-job isn’t much of worry and honestly if it weren’t for the healthcare I’d quit.

But a lot of day-jobs are like that.

Reality and the life we choose as writers, the solitary life of doing something we love, something that we feel in our soul, is enough for us to say to hell with the Grand Bargain and do it anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

We find our lives in creative things by experimenting and finding a happy place that we call our own.

Just as I don’t believe I’m the person who goes to a day job and slings drinks for tourists on the Vegas strip. I’m the person who stays up late writing words on the page for me.

I was listening to a song the other day, “Wild Again” by Starship. It’s on the Cocktail soundtrack.

But the lyrics in the song struck me, “Is this life I’m living mine?”

The life I’m living is that of the person slinging drinks for tourists because it pays the bills. But what if I start living like the writer I am. If when I meet someone and they ask me, “What do you do?” and instead of saying, “I’m a bartender at a Strip Hotel”, I answer the question with, “I’m a writer.”

I’ve read the once you start calling yourself a writer, others will see you as a writer.

I’ve always thought of myself as a writer, but it was the little things I neglected about being a writer.

Saying your something, but not following what that “something” is are two different things.

Believing you’re something you’re not, at least that you’re not giving your life to. That is where the divisions lays.

You need to believe wholeheartedly that you’re this person, or do like Neil Gaiman says, “Act like a person that would be able to do that thing.”

I like Neil’s idea, and in believing you’re a person that would do something the other person wouldn’t do, for me it would be being the writer and not the person who works the day job.

For you it could be, Being the artist not the College Student, or being the actor not the Single Mom.

Each of us are different in our lives, that’s what makes us unique and it’s also what makes us who we are.

Be the Person you are supposed to be and ignore the person you have to tolerate in order to be that person on a permanent basis.

“Buy the ticket, take the ride.” Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Writing is something I’ve grown to love, and loath. It always feels like one or the other, never anything other than that.

Waking up, the sun shining through the blinds, my kids playing in the hallway as my wife tries to wrangle them for school, I often sit in bed, pen in hand and write what I hear in the house.It’s these little observations that make a writer.

We’re often trying to get the next story written, plotted or struggling to make sense of the story we’ve just finished.

The ride of writing is one which, though the rails seem to slide off at times, buying the ticket for the train ride is more than worth the price of sleepless nights of worrying about the next sentence, thinking about the next story or wondering if you’re going to make it.

Every writer thinks these things. We all have days when we wish we’d have burned the ticket for the ride, or when we would have jumped off the train when the rails felt unstable. These moments are the clarity moments, the ones where the best writing happens.

The ride of writing and discovering what we enjoy writing is nearly better than the act of writing.

Each journey of the story we’re pulled into a world we never knew existed and sometimes a world we’d like to live in.

With each story we purchase a ticket into Neverland, where we take the ride and whether we enjoy it are up to us.

Are you enjoying the ride? Answer in the comments.

Alley in the Dark

Alley in the Dark

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.  ~Joseph Campbell

We fear things because we’ve been conditioned to do so.

All our lives we’ve been told, “They’re different, you shouldn’t talk to them.” or “That food is weird, you shouldn’t try it.”

The problem with this is we find ourselves stuck fearing everything. Whatever happens in our lives we discover that there’s a fear attached to it.

Writing is a major fear for a lot of writers, not because we’re afraid to write, it’s because we’re afraid of our writing not being as good as it could be, or it not being as strong as we’d like it to be.

We sit at our desk writing and the fear of poor prose can stop us from writing. Doubt of our own abilities can kill a writer’s confidence which in turn will kill a writer’s imagination.

Getting through our fear of not living up to our own abilities will make us stagnant or worse yet lead us down the path of forgetting why we started writing in the first place.

You should keep a list of reasons why you started writing:

  1. Make sure this list is visible when you’re writing.
  2. Create a desktop wallpaper with the list on your computer.
  3. This list can be something you share with those close to you, or not. If you tell them why you write, they may be more inclined to support your efforts.

Fear management is the best thing you can do for your creativity. Keeping your fears in check will keep you writing and will make your supporters more willing to help you.

Like the quote at the start of this post, fear of doing things in your writing will lead you away from your goals, even if you write for yourself and don’t plan on publishing, fear will create the negativity that keeps you from finishing a story, book or poem.

Don’t fear entering the cave, run through it screaming, searching for the treasure you earned from writing.

Are you afraid of entering the cave? Answer in the comments.