My husband is one of the quirkiest, kindest people I know. He wanted a big chunk of land when we first started dating and now we live on 30 acres of untamed timberland. Now, it would make sense that some sort of farm equipment (e.g. a tractor, a skid steer) would be purchased about the same time. However, that wasn’t the case. We are still sans tractor. Mike and I have looked over the years for a skid steer to whip the land into shape but the prices are a bit high and given the fact that we know nothing about heavy equipment, it’s hard to tell if a used skid steer is actually worth what the seller is asking for it. That being said, today Mike is facing off against a crowd of 1000 strangers in a place he’s never been, by himself.
He has been talking about going to a heavy equipment auction for a while to see if we can get a decent deal on a skid steer. Normally, I would go with him for moral support because…well…it’s less intimidating to get out of your comfort zone when you have someone to share the experience with. Unfortunately, today I had to work. I fully expected him to put it off until the next auction when I’d be able to go with him. To my surprise, he went by himself into the great unknown and I have never been more proud.
Seeing him push aside his comfort to step outside the box is encouraging. This action shows he’s not willing to just sit by and let life happen (staying in his comfort zone) but rather is going to push the envelope, no matter how uncomfortable it may be at times. Granted, we may end up with some odd piece of equipment he bought at an outrageous price from being out of his element at the auction, but that’s ok. I’ll gladly eewww and ahhh appropriately as he shows off his “steal”!
So often we let fear or anxiety keep us from doing what we want. Many times we’ll stop before we even get started. As Kristen Lamb stated in her Dance with the Devil blog:
Fear is the dream-killer.
Nothing great was ever accomplished in the comfort zone. The very nature of creativity is risk. As writers, we experience this every day. We face off against friends and family that can be benevolent dream-stealers. They mean well and they don’t want us to feel the sting of failure, but we can never be big winners if we don’t take a chance.
Once we do take the chance to write, there is always the fear of rejection that comes along when querying our work. Here, we’ve spent months if not years working on our novel and when the time comes to send it out into the world our fingers start to itch and the “what if” parasite infests our grey matter.
“What if they don’t like it?”
“What if I’m not as good as I thought?”
You get the picture. Add to all of that the social media aspect of being an author and it’s enough to make people run for the hills. Thankfully, there are plenty of people/authors willing to help on the journey. Kristen Lamb has a couple of books specifically about social media and bloggingfor writers as well as having started the #MyWANA hashtag for twitter. “We are not alone!”
Jody Hedlund’s blog is also fantastic resource for writers in all parts of their journey. If the idea of twitter/blogging/facebook overwhelms you, she has a helpful post on how much time you should be spending on social media.
Every time I sit down to work on my WIP, fear and doubt try to take over. Fear is nonproductive and unwelcome. When I feel it creeping up, I have a conversation/pep talk with myself:
Practice makes perfect. Just keep writing and eventually the confidence will come. So what if my first attempt ends up poorly received? What’s the worst that will happen? I will have learned from the writing/editing process. I will have created something! No one is going to take away my computer and forbid me to write because of this bump in the road.
So, no matter how much we may doubt ourselves at any given time, the only way to improve is to practice. Write, write, and write some more!
What do you do that helps you overcome the fear of putting yourself out there?