Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for Fear

So, I don't know what happened, but a few years ago I knew everything and wasn't scared of anything. Now I know nothing and everything is terrifying.

I've felt like this for a long time, and it can be stressful, but it's just a part of growing up. Sometimes I forget I'm still doing that. I think we all are. It's really just fear of the unknown, because I'm being faced with making big decisions with some really big consequences that involve doing things and going places that I haven't done or gone before, and doing it by myself. I think the by myself part scares me more than anything else.

I'm scared of making the wrong decision. I'm scared of being by myself in the middle of nowhere with no friends. I'm scared of being stuck in a dead-end job and writing never taking off. I'm scared people think I'm totally lame.

This is where you have to let your mind take some control over whatever crazy emotional chemicals and hormones are flooding it. Yes, these things are scary, but they're not that scary, and we just have to decide what's worth it and not let fears get in the way.

Not only is that real life, but it's what drives a good story. At the heart of it, the protagonist is either trying to escape their fears (a serial killer or evil stepmother) or trying to conquer them (a dark wizard or fiery eyeball trying to take over the world.) And the climax is them in the same room with that fear, looking it right in the eye. Sometimes literally.

I've come to the conclusion that fear is okay. Letting it overpower you is like being in a tunnel and denying the light at the end of it. Even if right now you can't see it, it is always there. Stories remind us of that.

Sarah Allen


  1. Absolutely right. Fear is probably what drives most people actually - especially, as you say, writers. Fear of failure. I must analyse the characters in my WIP and see what their fears are. Good exercise!

  2. My fears are slowly disappating - I'm expecting to be hugely calm and relaxed by 2015!

  3. Great post. Truly inspiring stuff.

  4. scobiddooooooooooo
    you can be my followers on google .

  5. Sarah -- I can relate. I've hidden behind busy-ness and life and motherhood and used every sort of camouflage available to deny my fear. This year I threw down the gauntlet. We have to face fear down every day and keep moving toward that light at the end of the tunnel, and hope that it's not a train.

  6. Got pointed in your direction by Shannon Lawrence's blog. You got good stuff for the A-Z so I think I'll stick around for a while. Maybe my C post might change your mind about some grunge rock. Stop by if you get a chance!

  7. I completely agree and relate to this feeling. It's a scary and difficult time, just trying to find your way. Especially when it comes to career aspirations and writing. Personally, I put a lot of pressure on myself and that's where the fear comes from. I am going to try to use that fear to fuel me.

  8. They do say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

  9. Sarah - this is an excellent "F" post. Fear affects all of us in different ways and at different times in our lives.

    I have a little quote on my desk:

    Do what you fear the most, then the death of fear is certain.

    This has been my motto when overcoming many of my fears.

    Jenny @ Pearson Report
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

  10. You write the coolest posts, Sarah.

  11. I've never been a fearful person. So far so good! I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.

  12. Ah yes, the Big F :) So prevalent, so rarely accepted and faced. A huge part of living--and growing--is learning how to face our fears head-on. You're right--they diminish in the light of day, like the coward bullies they are :D I read a great post on Writer Unboxed (I think it was yesterday) about second lives for authors, and at some point it said something like, "Sometimes when you have nothing left to lose is when you finally find the courage to stop holding back". Fear, in a way, means you still have something to lose, and sometimes that's not in your best interest (as a writer).

    Great post, Sarah!

  13. I think a little bit of fear is healthy, because it keeps you going and keeps you motivated. Most of the writers I know are scared of something (if not a lot of somethings) - fear of rejection, fear of the ideas stopping, fear of there being too many ideas, fear that no one will think they're a good writer or that their stories are worth reading. It's completely natural, but it's fighting through that fear that matters. It's definitely a learning process!

  14. Hi, I think it is fear of the unknown that holds us in its grip, rather than fear of the known. When we know, we can defeat it with confidence. Thank you for the interesting post. Ruby


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