If you’re like me, there are times when you probably let your fear of failure hinder your writing. But, perhaps you aren’t at all like me, and fear of failure never crosses your mind. My wife constantly suggests the quirks, neurosis, and other fun things that make up “me,” are not the same emotions and mental elements that make up HER and others. (My father was an alcoholic and my mother died when I was only eight, so she says I probably don’t see like just the way others do.)
No matter the fears or concerns you let hinder you, if you are to write what you want to write and do it to your full potential, you simply have to ignore such things and write anyway. Writers must be courageous. By “courageous,” I am not invoking some mysterious state of sublime calm that enables you to rise peacefully above the cares of your life and write always and everywhere.
No, my definition of courage would be this: Doing what you must do, regardless of whether you are afraid.
One of the most fun and rewarding jobs I’ve ever had was as news editor of a weekly Christian denominational magazine. I enjoyed just about everything the job required of me, and I really had a blast meeting some interesting people and getting to do a little bit of business travel every year on their dime. It was great.
But the first day I had to “solo” at that position, after just two weeks training, I would have given anything to just fall into the ground and disappear rather than go into the office that day. I knew what to do and how to do it. I had the skills to do the job and I had the interest to do it. I was motivated.
I still remember walking to work that day, hoping the next breath would somehow be my last and I simply wouldn’t have to go into the office. I was as eager to be somewhere else, anywhere else, as a 17-year-old is eager to get rid of acne on the eve of his senior prom. I remember literally forcing one foot to step in front of the other.
I realize now that my fears were unfounded, and that it was a high point of my life getting to do that work and work with some really great people. (Best boss I ever had, before or since.) But at the time, it took real courage for me just to make it to work, let alone do a presentation that day at the staff meeting.
Do you let your fear of failure hinder your writing and/or the writing career you want for yourself? Don’t let fear keep you idle or “blocked.” Writers must be courageous. So ignore the fear and do some writing today that’ll make us all proud.