Friday, February 10, 2012

Part I: What Holds You Back From Being the Best Writer You Can Be? Fear

          First, I would like to thank everyone who commented last week on my post about eBooks. I didn’t realize it was such an area of passion for so many. Thanks, again, for your thoughts.
Now for this week’s topic:
This year I have posted about things that can help writers gear up for a new season, leave the mistakes of last year behind, and move on to new goals. I have blogged about conferences, a new market, getting your market guide and ways to jump-start your writing, such as journaling.
Today, I am asking the question: What holds us back from being the writer God called us to be?
Here are the top three reasons for me:
1.     Fear and Criticism
2.     A Lack of Focus
3.     Disorganization
 This week I will look at Fear and Criticism.

Fear, Specifically, of Interviewing Others
            When I was a college student, working toward a degree in journalism, my heartbeat would quicken when I had to interview someone. I always felt like I was invading their privacy or imposing on them, even though in many instances, it helped them get the word out about themselves or an issue for which they felt strongly. I made it through my fears, by telling myself that once I graduated the fear would magically disappear. That has been over 25 years and that fear has not gone away.
Even, today, there are some authors I would like to interview for my blog, but sometimes I just can’t seem to muster the courage to contact them. So, I miss out on the things another writer could teach me.
When I watch reporters on the national news broadcasts, covering various events around the world, I feel a little sad and envious. I wonder if that could have been me.

Brett Pelletier/Dreamstime

Criticism of My Work and Person
            I believe criticism is my greatest fear. I don’t fear public speaking or going to the dentist, but, when someone points criticizes what I have done or written, I take it personally, whether it is merited or not. Early in my career, a source for one of my stories, accused me of fabricating statistics in an article I had written (which I had not done). He made a scene about the situation in front of one of my supervisors. Although I was supported, I believe it was the thing that finally caused me to walk away from writing for many years.

How can I overcome these fears?
 If I want to be a writer who makes a difference in the world, I have to find ways to attack this problem.
There are a few ways that I approach fear:
1.  Prayer. Over the past few years, I have become what some may call, a prayer warrior. I pray for others, many I have never met, or know. What this has done for me is help me to develop a habit of prayer. I still struggle with fear issues, but I pray more about them.
2.  Journal. I started writing, over thirty years ago, by journaling. When fear grips me, I still journal. It helps me to separate fact from fiction.
3.  God’s Word. I have come to believe there is great power in Holy Scripture. I was fortunate that as a young person, I memorized many scripture verses, so the love of the Bible has been ingrained in me. I go to God’s Word to battle my fears.
4.  Practice. I have to take steps and do the things that I am afraid of, if I am to overcome my fears. When I receive criticism, I take a deep breath and pray. Each time I deal with it, I grow. I’m still fearful, but hopefully a little less each day.
Next week I’ll discuss a lack of focus in our writing.
How about you? Is fear keeping you from being the writer you should be?

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