RWA National: The Courageous Writer: Power Through the Fear

Considering my last couple of years have been like a tunnel, this workshop really hit the spot. Aspiring author Fae Rowen, debut author Laura Drake, and NYT bestselling historical author Tessa Dare shared a passel of wisdom about the fears that crop up in all stages of the writing career, how to face them, and how to get past them so you can be productive. Here are some highlights:

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: fear of failure.” –Paulo Coelho

    1. Many of us suffer from atelphobia, the fear of not being good enough. Yeah, that one hit home in a big way.
    2. There’s enough to stress about among the things you do have control over (the writing, your habits, etc.), so don’t stress about the things you have zero control over, like the market and what other people may or may not be thinking about you.
    3. Sometimes, you just have to put on the titanium panties.
    4. Behave as if–act as though you are already what you want to be.
    5. Commiserate with others who understand your position–this is where your supportive writer friends are gold.

“Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.” –Ray Bradbury

  1. Tessa says pushing her off the cliff–making her write–is the most romantic thing Mr. Dare has ever done for her. Other cliffs might be submitting, entering the GH/RITA, pitching or querying something that (Shh!) isn’t finished.
  2. Need a nudge? Try the Kittens or Death method. Entrust a chunk of money to a very close writer friend and state a goal and a deadline you plan to meet. If you follow through on the goal, the money gets donated to a cause you love and support (kitten). If not, the money goes to something you would normally spend any non-writing free time protesting against (death).
  3. Give yourself time to learn, and don’t stress about how long it takes.
  4. Balance in life is important. Woolgathering is part of the process and is completely justifiable!
  5. Write down a list of why you write and what’s wonderful about it. When you’re afraid, look at the list again. Brain research shows that it helps!

TAKEAWAY: You need your writer friends at the edge of the cliff, to talk you down or push you off, whichever you need most.

Image courtesy of ThornyBleeder

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