By Jennifer Blanchard
If you want to be a writer, you’re going to be put up against many challenges. And these challenges can either make you or break you—the choice is yours.
As a writer, you’ll face challenges, such as:
- The blank page.
- The inner editor.
- Finishing your first draft.
- Constructive criticism.
- Editing your writing.
- Finding an agent.
- Finding a publisher.
This list could go on.
And while these challenges are a bit scary, there’s nothing scarier than allowing fears to take over your life and prevent you from writing anything.
That’s why it’s so important to take on challenges and to take on the things you’re scared of. Because facing the fear is the first step toward overcoming it.
Facing Fear Head-On
One thing most people don’t know about me is that I’m terrified of dogs. Especially big ones.
When I was almost four, I watched my two-year-old brother get mangled by the German Shepherd that lived next door to my grandma. And my fear developed from there.
Growing up, I cringed when a dog came near me. I’d get sweaty; my heartbeat would quicken; and my body would freeze. This happened every time I was near a dog—and especially a dog I didn’t know.
But then last year I had a thought—Why was I allowing something that happened in my past to shape my future?
So last July, I decided to face my fear of dogs head-on: I bought a puppy. A sweet, adorable, little Toy Poodle puppy.
For the first few days, things were chaos. I was totally freaked out and afraid he was going to chew my fingers off. And I couldn’t sleep. I’d wake up every five minutes just to check on him.
After the second night of not sleeping, I was ready to give up the dog. I even went so far as to post an ad for him on Craig’s List (which like five people answer immediately!).
But then I realized that I was giving up too easily. I was allowing the fear to consume me so much that I didn’t see what a beautiful boy I had right in front of my eyes.
So I kept him.
I took the ad down and decided that we were a family now and I wasn’t going to back out of it. He is mine forever.
A couple years ago, if you told me I would own a dog one day, I’d tell you that you were nuts. But now, almost a year after I brought my puppy home, I can’t imagine my life without him.
And I never would’ve known the joy of dog ownership if I hadn’t stepped up to the plate and faced my fear head-on.
Step Up and Challenge Yourself
If you’ve been holding back from writing for whatever reason, now’s your chance to make a change. Now’s your chance to challenge yourself to write.
Figure out what fears are holding you back, and then make the decision to face them head-on.
Maybe you’re afraid of writing because you don’t want to fail. Maybe you’re avoiding writing because you don’t want people to think differently of you. Or maybe you don’t write because you’re allowing excuses to hold you back.
Whatever your fears might be, challenge yourself to face them. Do something you wouldn’t normally do (me getting a dog!). Try something new. Be OK with the outcome you get.
If you allow your fears to hold you back in life, you’ll never reach your writing dreams—and isn’t that scarier?
So face your fears. Be brave. Stay strong.
What fears are holding you back from writing? What challenge are you going to take on?
About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is founder of Procrastinating Writers. For more great writing tips, articles and information, follow her on Twitter.