Dismantling Writing Blocks: Sitting with Discomfort and Going to Battle with Fear

I’m going to start out by getting a little personal with you here.

Yesterday, I suffered the first anxiety attack—full blown at my worst—since I can remember. I know I’ve had one at some point this year, but I literally can’t remember when it was.

The warning signs that it was coming were there. But I ignored them. I felt like I had made a lot of progress and that I didn’t need to heed my warning signs. I was beyond my anxiety attacks. Ha!

Upon reflection, I realized that I did have the power to stop myself from getting as bad as it did. I do want to note that this is for me, that I personally felt that I had this ability. I’m by no means saying anyone else works this way or suggesting the people have the power to handle their anxiety in this way. Everyone is different.

However, when I saw the warning signs, I ignored them. Why did I ignore them? The ridiculous answer was because of fear.

I know my anxious self. I’m familiar with her. I know what she thinks and what she does, and for me, anxious Nicola has a strange freedom to feel things wildly and take no responsibility for what happens when I do feel wildly because it’s out of my control. It’s familiar.

But the work I’ve been doing has been teaching me to take control over myself, as well as take responsibility for my reactions. There is a point of no return for me, when I can’t control what happens, not yet anyway, but I can control if and how I get to that point. Yesterday I let fear take the reins, and relinquished control.

But I learned a lot from that experience. And one of the main things I learned is what I want to share with you:

Sitting with Discomfort and Fear is the Greatest Teacher You Can Have

Fear

There are all these really catching coaching acronyms for what FEAR stands for, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about what fear is to me, and my understanding of it. Knowing this has helped me through hurtles in my writing, in managing my anxiety, in having difficult conversations, and in starting my business.

To understand fear is to understand the ego. When I’m talking about this, I’m talking about metaphysical teachings. I don’t know enough about psychology to say what the professionals are stating about this. However, this is the information I glean from minds such as Eckhart Tolle.

The Ego

The ego is that which preserves as sense of self. It is “I.” When we make a statement which is followed by the verb form “am,” then we are making a statement about the self, which is the ego. Examples:

  • I am a writer
  • I am successful
  • I am a woman
  • I am introverted
  • I am a gardener
  • etc.

So on and so forth. These are all how we are identifying ourselves. Each time we use “am” statements, we’re affirming our form to the ego. The ego’s job is to preserve that form, and often time it can do so in damaging ways.

For example, I know a guy whose whole identity revolves around how big and tough he is. Thus, whenever he describes anyone other than himself, he’ll do so using negative descriptions, such as “the tubby guy,” or “that little fella,” or “the spotty guy.” By using these negative descriptions, he’s making him look better in comparison.

Likewise, the ego can work against you. You are the one who has created the description of yourself. And whatever that description is, the ego is going to help you to protect. If you don’t think highly of yourself, and your “am” statements are along the lines of being useless, pathetic, selfish—pick your poison, then your ego is going to work to protect that.

And to do so, the ego uses fear.

Fear

Fear is a very handy tool. It’s what we use to protect ourselves. Fear alerts us to threats and tells us that we need to act on it, whether it’s the flight or flight or freeze response. Fear tells us that we are under threat.

Because the ego wants to preserve itself, it will deploy fear when there is something that threatens to change the definition of Self.

A common fear that writers have is to identify themselves as a writer. That’s why I often tell people that they need to spend time looking in the mirror and telling themselves that they are a writer. The next step is to tell other people that they are a writer. Not that they want to be a writer, or that they’re an aspiring writer, but that they are a writer. Fear of ridicule will often deter people from doing this, but once a writer fully embraces that writing is who they are, not what they want to be, then the ridicule doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if they make money writing or not. What matters is that they put pen to paper and conjure their ideas and words. That’s what makes them a writer. Not what other people think.

So, how do we understand and deal with fear? I’ll get to that. First, I’d like to share a story I read.

The Warrior and the Monster

After I had my anxiety attack, I picked up a book that I’d been reading on and off over the last couple of weeks. And lo and behold, I read exactly what I needed to read. Funny how that works out!

The book is When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön. In the 6th chapter, she writes about the concept of Refrain, which I’ll get to in a little bit. Toward the end of the chapter, she shares a wonderful story about a warrior and a monster.

A warrior must go up against a monster. She’s terrified. She’s quaking in her boots. She doesn’t even know what the damn thing looks like (Okay, I might be adding some extra detail here), but she knows that she must face it.

When she finds the monster, it turns and she’s started to see that the monster is in face Fear.

She asks, “Fear, may we engage in battle?”

Fear responds, “Thank you for respecting me enough to ask. Yes, we may engage in battle.”

The warrior feels a little more comfortable now at the nicety. She goes on to ask, “How can I defeat you?”

Fear, feeling more relaxed in knowing that the warrior respects it, responds with, “Well, I’ll tell you my tactic. I speak very loudly and very fast. I get close in your face as I do so. This will rattle you and unnerve you, which will make you to succumb to anything I ask of you. However, that is where my power is. If you do not do as I ask, then I have no power at all. If you can resist me, if you can refrain from doing what I tell you, then I have no power.”

Sitting with Discomfort

Fear is rarely true terror. Fear generally manifests itself as discomfort. Sitting with discomfort is one of the best learning tools you have at your disposal. This is also a practice that I only learned since the most recent Black Lives Matter movement.

One of the things many BIPOC folx were asking white folx to do was to notice their discomfort when it comes to topics of race, and to sit with it. Don’t react to it, don’t do anything other than sit with it. It’s alright to be uncomfortable. There is nothing that’s going to get you from being uncomfortable. When you sit with it, you learn from it and you grow from it.

My very weak example of sitting with my discomfort comes from wanting to publicly support BLM. As my business is very new, I was afraid of upsetting people by involving my political views. My views are very strictly, Black Lives Matter. Indigenous Lives Matter. Brown Lives Matter. Trans Lives Matter.

When I sat with the discomfort, I realized that the people who were likely to ostracize me for these views weren’t my audience. So why was I wanting to impress them? Why was I wanting to try and retain their attention? With this realization, I was able to come out and try to be more vocal and supportive of these matters. Whether or not I went about it in the right way is an entirely different issue, but the point is that this was how I overcame this discomfort.

To learn more about sitting with discomfort in the scope of racial discussions, I highly suggest that you check out Ar-Tic.Org as a starting place.

The Warrior’s Discomfort

Consider the warrior’s discomfort that she had to sit with in order to get the information from her opponent on how to win the battle. First, she had to get through the fear of even staying with Fear enough to talk to it. She had to ramp up the courage to even have respect for Fear in the first place.

She had to be willing to stay still and sit with Fear enough to have a discussion with it to see what it would teach her. Pema Chödrön calls this Refrain.

Refrain

The act of refraining is to notice when the ego is feeling threatened, thus acknowledging the fear, and from there refraining to react to the fear, or do what the fear is demanding of you. Except, Chödrön doesn’t specifically call it fear at first. She talks about discomfort.

Discomfort

What is discomfort? It’s when you’re in a process of transition. It’s the precursor to fear. I’m not talking about physical discomfort, but emotional and mental discomfort. This is when you hear an idea and you don’t know why but it makes you uncomfortable. It can take many different forms from depression to annoyed to general moodiness.

For me, my anxiety attack came essentially from the discomfort of boredom. That was what set it off in a very vague, generalized way.

What happened was I sat down to work yesterday morning with my pint of water, promising myself I would have two of those before I was allowed my next cup of coffee. Then, of course, I knocked the water over, all over my laptop. It soaked it.

I wasn’t really worried because a) it’s a really cheap laptop and I wouldn’t mind the excuse to buy a better one, and b) because it’s a cheap laptop there isn’t enough memory to hold any of my files, so they’re all on an external hard drive (which I recently upgrade to a water-resistant one). However, it meant that I couldn’t work. Not until I let my computer dry out. While I didn’t mind the idea of getting a new one (and secretly hoped I needed to), I couldn’t justify getting a new one if I didn’t actually need to.

So, my only job was to wait out my computer.

Likewise, my partner had a day off. He was busy researching on his own computer (it doesn’t have a working keyboard, he types everything by clicking the on-screen keyboard with his mouse. I cannot write a novel like that, so using that was out of the question). So I sat, the nice day going on outside the house, my partner completely involved in his research, and me just scrolling through Instagram.

I was bored, and through this virus we had been really good about not going out unnecessarily. I had reached my limit.

I started thinking about how both my partner and I had a day off together for once, and we should be using it, and how if I wasn’t then I was just wasting my life away. And oh my god, I’m nearly 34 and I’m not doing anything with my days off. In fact, I’m not married, I’m not settling down and having a kid, and I’m nowhere near owning a home and maybe I should move back to the States and be closer to my parents because they’re getting older and really I should be spending as much time with my one remaining grandparent as I can and—so on and so forth.

I was uncomfortable because I was bored. So my fear kicked in and I became anxious.

Full disclosure: I’m in a time of transition right now. We are moving from our home in North Yorkshire. We were supposed to have left in April, but because of the virus, we weren’t able to. Because we’re moving to another country and we have dogs and thus we’re driving, we’ve been having to wait for borders throughout Europe to open so we can get to our destination. We’ve essentially been in limbo for the past four months. I’ve been fine for the most part because I’ve been avoiding the discomfort and fear through working my ghost writing jobs, coaching, and doing my own inner work.

I have been bypassing my discomfort.

As a result, when I didn’t have anything to do, rather than sitting with my discomfort, I let anxiety take hold.

Had I sat with my discomfort, I would have realized that my issue is that we’re in limbo. We’re neither where we need to be nor are we where we’re supposed to be going. We are in between. And I’m literally not doing anything about it. We could be getting the house ready to move, we could be getting the dogs’ passports ready, I could have been setting up blog posts and newsletters to publish while we move so I don’t have to worry about it, but I haven’t been doing any of it.

My discomfort was guilt at my boredom. If I had sat with my discomfort instead of finding a way not to deal with it, I would have heard that guilt and done something about it. Getting ready to move is a massive change, and it threatens the ego. It’s moving into the unknown. Like I said, we’re moving to a different country. We can research it all we want (which is my partner’s way of dealing with the transition), but we don’t really know what it’s like until we get there. What’s more, this whole year has been one big un-known adventure.

And the unknown threatens the ego. Thus, there is fear.

Refrain and Respecting The Fear

Discomfort is trying to tell you something. Fear is trying to scare you back into the norm. When we refrain from reacting to the discomfort, when we refrain from trying to avoid the discomfort, then there is something that is being taught. We can learn and grow through it.

I have heard advice from gurus and coaches (I’m wanting to say I specifically heard this on Danielle LaPorte’s podcast, though I could be wrong) to treat your different voices as people. Bring them all to the table and listen to them. This means bringing your discomfort to the table as a voice, letting your fear have a seat and have a voice, letting your excitement have a voice, let your analytical self have a voice, and so on. Invite all of these voices to the table and give them attention and respect they deserve as if they were people in a meeting.

In doing so, you’re giving each voice a space to talk and express its opinion. You listen as an outside observer. They do not have the end say in what you decide on. You do. However, you can listen to all the voices, hear the discussion and show respect in order to hear them out. They might all have a valuable opinion. And they all might have advice for how you can grow.

It wasn’t until I began to try to sit with my discomfort that I saw the merit in this advice.

What does this have to do with your writing? That part is in your Home Work.

Your Homework

The next time you find yourself feeling resistance to write, sit with it. Feel it out. Don’t do anything while you sit with it other than make yourself comfortable, and let yourself feel it. Is it a physical sensation? Does it make you feel jittery? What do you do when you’re uncomfortable? Do you pull at your fingers or ears? Do you message your hands? Tap your foot?

Once you notice what you do when you’re uncomfortable, spend some time journaling about the experience. Write about what you feel and do. Then spend some time thinking about what you are learning about yourself and discomfort. I don’t mean what your discomfort is telling you, but rather what you’re learning about the way you react to the discomfort.

The next time you feel discomfort, try to refrain from doing these things you do to avoid feeling it. Try not to message  your hands or tap your feet. It will likely feel restrained, but try to breathe out the frustration. Letting out a full breath until there is nothing left in your lungs is a really good way of getting out that urge to move.

From there, sit with your discomfort. Ask it where it’s coming from. Ask what’s being threatened.

Take out your journal again, and try to interact with the discomfort, like it is a friend who is trying to tell you a secret but doesn’t know how. You can create a dialogue, you can just write out what comes, you can record yourself talking if you’d like. But see what you can learn from just sitting with your discomfort.

Finally, the next time you feel the discomfort, you will hopefully know where it’s coming from, and you can address it, which hopefully will allow you to sit down and write. If not, repeat the exercises until you can fully understand and respect your discomfort and fear enough to sooth it.

Happy writing.

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Let Me Riff – We’re All Just Figuring It Out: A Writer’s Journey

| Finding Your Way | Figuring Out “Writing” |
| The Writing Formula | Discovering Your Formula |
| Your Homework | Contact Me |

I’m going to upset a few people when I say this, but there is no one true way for anything. At least, when it comes to methodology.

Alright, I say that, but as soon as I say it, my mind thinks about methodology for cooking or tying a knot, and when to tie the right knot. Okay, so for those kinds of things, there are true ways. You know that if you move the rope the right way around itself, you’re going to get a secure figure 8 knot. You know that if you don’t over beat the eggs whites, you’ll get a firm…what is that called? Egg white whip?

But I digress (Sidenote: here is a song I love called “I digress. Click here.)

May Reminders

Finding Your Way

What I want to say is that for advice on how to make your own way, or make even the “standard” way in life, there is no one true to the course piece of advice. You have to figure it out for yourself.

High school + University + Career + Marry + Babies + Retire ≠ Success for everyone. For a many people, that does make success. But not everyone has that privilege and not everyone wants their lives to be that linear.
And that’s ok. You can make your own Path.

The beauty of the rainbow is all the colors that make it up. We are human beings, living in a complicated world, and we ourselves are complicated. We are a colorful tapestry that makes up humanity, and likewise, our own intricacies make up our own prismic individualities.

To find what is right for us, we have to work to explore and experiment and figure it out for ourselves.

And that’s what writing is.

The existential Crisis of the pen, trying to figure itself out.
A video I made in college: Proof that not everything is gold. But hey, I got an A

Figuring Out “Writing”

Because we all work differently, we need to figure out what works best for us in our writing style, our voice, our genre, and how we go about success, however it’s defined. We are our own unique beings, and thus, there is no sure-fire path to get what we want from our writing.

In an Instagram video last week, I compared writing to starting up a business. There is plenty of advice out there on how to do it, and as well as the best marketing plans, when and how to post on social media, how to grow your email list, and so on.

Likewise, there is just as much contradicting information out there, giving a complete different set of recommendations on how to find success for your budding business.

And me, as my own small, budding business, I’m having to figure this out as I go along. I’m having to do the research and figure out what works best for me, my niche, my personal goals, and how best I can serve my audience. While I know my service very well—that is, I know how to talk writing and help my clients—the marketing aspect is a bit fiddly.

Writing is just the same.

The Writing Formula

There’s a wonderful book by Sean M. Platt and Johnny Truant called The Fiction Formula. In their introduction they state, very blatantly, against the title of their book, “There is no formula, ladies and gentleman.”

I laughed when I read that line. I bought the book, curious because I know there is no formula. There are general guidelines, but there is no true-to-the-mark, success-every-time formula. And I wanted to see how these guys went about proving that there was one.

I was delighted to see their thinking as aligned with mine, in their unique brand (And believe you, me. They have a beautifully unique brand).

Discovering Your Formula

You can read the greats, which I recommend you do. I recommend that you discover who you feel the greats are as well.

You can take on the advice of the greats. You can follow story structure to the letter, and you can know the ins and outs of the market. But until you put this information to the test, and test it repeatedly, it’s all just figuring it out.

The Evolving Writer

No story is the same as another. No voice is the same as another. No reader and no writer are the same as another. And I dare say, that no writer is the same once they’ve completed their work in progress and move onto the next. We are always changing and evolving, and thus, our work is, too.

I can give the writing prompt of “A letter arrived,” to a group of a hundred writers, and they will likely come up with a different story or situation from that prompt. Even if they settled on the same situation, each writer would have a different way of telling that story.

Why does this matter? Because every writer is different. We all come from different backgrounds, education systems, social systems, class systems, family situations. We all have different interests, read different things, and we all think differently. We’re all a part of the rainbow tapestry.

And thus, if we all follow the same pieces of advice to create a book, we are all going to come up with something different.

We All Have to Figure It Out

Each book you write is just practice. No matter if you publish it and are wildly successful with it, you’re still practicing. There is no such thing as a mastery of an art. Our technique and execution will evolve as we do.

Is there an author who you read religiously? Who you’ve read from start to finish, from their first book to their most recent? Have you seen how they differ? They are trying new ways of writing, new ideas, no voices, new techniques and styles, and finding what fits them best.

And thus, we must do the same. We must figure our own formula out.

Your Home Work

I have two pieces of homework for you. The first piece of homework involves leaving a comment below. This is for you and other people, so you can learn from each other. The other piece of homework is just for you (unless you want to share it—you are more than welcome!).

First Homework Assignment

The first homework assignments involves considering the colors of the rainbow and examining how you define them. To get you started, the basic colors of a rainbow are:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Brown
  • White

Alright, maybe the last three aren’t what you see in the sky when you look up, but they’re still beautiful colors in their own right.

Write three items that are each color. So, three red things, three orange things, three yellow things, etc. Take this a step further and define the shade of the color for each thing. For example, red wine might be described as burgundy, or even purple.

The purpose of this exercise is to be able to see the different ways we each understand basic colors, what we associate each color with, and how we further describe each color. It shows our diversity in thinking, but also is a reminder that we all operate in different ways enough that we can interpret stories and directions differently.

Please share your answers below.

Second Homework Assignment

Think about one specific piece of writing advice that you’ve heard, and then come up with a list of ways to interpret that piece of advice. Then, write the opposite of that piece of writing advice and see if you can make it work.

Some common writerly advice:

  • Never start a story with:
    • The MC looking in the mirror
    • “It was a dark and stormy night…” or any other descriptor of the weather
    • A dream sequence
  • Don’t mind hop, that is, don’t go from inside one character’s mind to another
  • Always finish a story where it started
  • Avoid adverbs
  • Avoid speech tags other than “said,”
  • Avoid detailed descriptions of characters

These are just to get you started.

Know that every single one of these rules/pieces of advice have been broken by writers, and have been brilliantly executed. I swear Salman Rushdie spent three pages describing a man’s nose in Midnight’s Children. And he did it beautifully. Likewise, in Bleak House, Charles Dickens is in and out of every character’s mind in a scene (with the exceptions of the chapters from Esther’s perspective).

Play. Figure it out. What works for you?

If you have a writing group, or some writer friends, have them each play with this exercise as well and swap. Ask each other if you guys managed to pull off breaking the rules, and if not, how you might be able to improve it.

Play!

Happy writing!

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Are you thinking about working with me, but just aren’t entirely sure? Fill out the form, schedule a call, let’s talk. This is a no-pressure, non-sales-pitch call, where we talk about you and your writing, and whether or not you want to work with me. Let’s chat!

December 13 Journal Prompt: Know Your Fears

What Is Your Fear Around Writing?

There are two more posts specifically about goal setting, and one of them I’d like to talk to you a little bit about fear.

When you boil it down, fear is behind what stops us. We’re afraid of investing, we’re afraid of success, we’re afraid of failure. We’re afraid of being wrong, we’re afraid of being right.

All of this boils down to change. If we have a fear in any of these areas, it’s because we have an idea of what is or should be, and whatever it is that you’re afraid of runs the risk of change.

I listen to a lot of tarot podcasts (if you didn’t know, my dovetail into coaching was via my tarot website and the writing prompts I was posting there), and Lindsey Mack had a wonderful episode recently on the 10 of Swords, which is generally viewed as a difficult card. In the episode she spoke a lot about fear, and what it is in the brain.

Your brain is trying to create a safe route for us, but we can only do it if we can predict what’s going to come. When we have a fear of change, it’s because the change is something that is unknown. The outcome is unknown. And as a result, we fear it because we can’t predict and prepare for it on a deeper level.

If you look at Eckhart Tole and what he has to say on the matter, fear is a result of your ego trying to preserve itself. Similarly to the idea of unpredictability, the ego is trying to maintain its sense of identity. Anything can threaten that sense of self, especially change of status. As a result, we have fear, anxiety, anger, jealousy, and myriad of other difficult emotions.

I cannot recommend his book, A New Earth enough. The first chapter can be a bit dry, but once you get into the meat of it, it’s amazing.

What’s this Got to Do with Writing or the New Year?

When we are setting our writing goals for the New Year, we need to address and confront some of these fears that we might have around success.

Some common writer fears are:

  • Fear of success
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear to start
  • Fear of not finishing
  • Fear of not writing well enough
  • Fear of people reading their work

I won’t get into these too much. However, the end result in many of these is a change in the understanding of yourself. What if you write a book? Then you’ll now be the person who writes books, and with that comes some form of responsibility.

What if you’re successful? What if you fail? Both of these involve changes to the sense of self. If you’re successful, then your identity now involves “writer,” and it can mean keeping up a social media presence, going through the motions of publishing, repping your work, etc. If you fail though, then it could mean a change in how people perceive you.

Whatever your fear regarding your writing is, it has the potential to hold you back in some way.

It can manifest in

  • Writer’s block
  • Stagnation
  • Boredom of a project
  • Inability to stay focused on just one project
  • Constantly working on your piece but never actually getting anywhere with it

Again, these are just a few ways you can see fear interrupt your writing.

When you’re making goals for the New Year, you want to look into what goals you aren’t setting but would like to set. You want to look at the goals you are setting and see how fear is playing a role in how you set yourself up for success this year.

Journal Prompt

This is going to be another two-part journal prompt. It is essential that you really dive deep to get to understand what’s in you, what might be blocking you, and what might be supporting you. Your joy is what’s going to carry you through to find success. Your fear is going to be what holds you back.

Step 1: Your Relationship with Fear

The first part of this is to look at your relationship to fear. This might involve a few days’ worth of reflecting. During this exercise, think about the things that have held you back because you were on some level afraid. Think about the things that infuriated you, and ask how they might have been in response to an underlying fear.

Look at this in relation to your writing, but also in life. Sometimes our fears in life can be symptomatic in our writing as well. For example, if we’re stressed out in life  because we’ve taken on too much, our writing can suffer, even if we make time for it.

Step 1.2: Your Writing

Now look at your writing. Really look at it. Look at all the times you thought “I should be writing,” but didn’t. Think about the times you wrote but wanted to keep it a complete secret. Think about the manuscripts you have, completed, doing nothing.

Ask yourself why all these things are the case, and examine the fear around each situation.

Step 2: Your 2020 Goals

Now that you have some understanding about your fears, ask yourself how they’re going to influence your goals. Are they going to hinder them in some way or will your 2020 goals remain unaffected?

If you think they’ll be a problem, work overcoming that fear into your goals for 2020, into your habits for January.

If you need any help coming up with ways to break through that fear, I’m only a quick message away!

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

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December 5 Journal Prompt: What Are Your Fears?

What in Life Scares You?

In part of knowing yourself as a writer and as a person, knowing what scares you is a great way of understanding what might act as a block in your life. Of course there are survival fears, such as earthquakes, lightning, being mugged, scorpions, etc. But a lot of times we have fears that have to do with social status, with our families, with our work. These things aren’t survival fears, but culturally constructed fears. In our evolved world where we have less to be morally afraid of, these non-life-threatening fears are just as valid.

Don’t take councel from your Fear

James Faust

Knowing what it is in life that scares you can do two things:

  1. It can inspire your writing, creating writing prompts
  2. It can help you develop more multi-facetted characters
  3. Most importantly, they can serve to block your writing and your path to success.

Fears as Blocks

Especially for writers who are just starting out, there is a lot of fear. Our fears can make or break us. They can work as something to motivate us into action, or they can stop us dead in our tracks by keeping us from starting on our goals, finishing our goals, or even from releasing our goals into the world.

Fear of Commitment Lies Behind the Fear of Writing

Hilary Mantel

Journal Prompt

Spend some time making a list of what scares you. This can be general phobias you have (heights, flying (that’s mine), spiders, trains, fires, etc.) but also the fears that keep you up at night.

Are you afraid of what people will think if they find out you write romance? Are you afraid of what people will think if you tell them that you write at all? Are you afraid to start writing because you think it will take away from your family? Are you afraid to start writing because it might affect your job? Are you afraid of self-publishing because of the costs?

Write down every fear that you can think of and then rank it from worst to not so bad, 1 being the worst.

Spend some time with this list. Spend time journaling and asking yourself what each of these fears is doing to block your path. Are they preventing you from writing? Are they preventing you from finishing your projects? Are they enough to make you give up the idea of writing at all?

For many of the fears you come up with, you’ll find that they either aren’t as big of a deal as you think they are, or they’re an excuse. However, there are of course some that run deep, and you need to spend time working through these fears as well.

Untracable Image credit – Pinned from POPSUGAR, though the post has since been taken down

Unless we are faced with mortal danger, fear does little to serve us in this world. Fear triggers our fight or flight response, and when we’re in a work meeting and afraid, we can do neither, and thus we have to sit with the fear, doing nothing. This can make us sick.

The purpose of today’s journal prompt is to see what fears that aren’t serving you, and to help you begin to consider a plan to dissolve or sidestep that which you are afraid of.

Fear is a prompt not a block.
Writers as me all the time how they can overcome their worst fears. my prescription is always the same: Figure out what you’re most afraid of and write about that. Don’t stop until you’ve put it all on the page. When you use your fear as a prompt it loses its power to block

Bryan Hutchinson, Writer’s Doubt

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

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