THIS TAUGHT ME A BIG LESSON ABOUT FEAR. SOMETIMES IT'S UNAVOIDABLE. SOMETIMES IT SEEMS TO BE ALL-CONSUMING. BUT IT ISN'T. THERE'S MORE INSIDE EACH ONE OF US; WE ARE MORE CAPABLE THAN WE BELIEVE OF REDIRECTING OUR THOUGHTS, STAYING FOCUSED ON THE POSITIVE.
WE ARE, ALL OF US, STRONGER THAN WE MIGHT THINK.
KNOW THAT, WRITER FRIENDS. WE CAN USE THAT KNOWLEDGE TO OUR ADVANTAGE IN SO MANY WAYS, AND CERTAINLY TO PUSH THROUGH OUR FEAR-BUILT BARRIERS AS WRITERS.
I KNOW I'M GOING TO REMEMBER THIS LESSON FOR THE REST OF MY (HOPEFULLY LONG) LIFE; FEAR IS ONLY AS BIG AS I LET IT BECOME AND ONLY HAS AS MUCH POWER OVER ME AS I ALLOW IT TO HAVE.
When I was a kid, I had a recurring nightmare about someone breaking into our house. Some of the details are long faded, but some are still crystal clear - I was alone in the house except for my grandparents. They lived upstairs and were physically unable to get around much. The doorbell rang. I opened the heavy inside door, leaving the storm door locked. A man stood there - always a man, always a big man. He'd somehow get through the storm door. I tried to close the inside door but he'd push inside. Terrified, I raced upstairs, closing door after door behind me. Panic threatened to swallow me whole. How was I going to save my grandparents? What was I going to do? To this day, whenever I think about that nightmare, the terror of that child fills me.
My nightmares, my fears, are different now. But I still sometimes let them get the better of me. Some are (sort of) silly - zombies, anyone? Some aren't - bad things happening to those I love. I work through them, and I do my best to not let them interfere with living a full and wonderful life.
Sometimes, though, I find I have to wring the terror out, staining the story with tears and sweat. I wrestle with the fear, twisting and lunging, until it's pinned to the page where it lurks within words, blooms inside characters, and skulks behind scenes. Where, if I did my job correctly, it will then haunt you, dear reader.
Feel the fear. Then use it to make yourself and your writing stronger.