Monday, November 27, 2006

Fear and Writing Friends

Or not. Who knows where my sleep deprived brain will take this post.

This was taken at the top of Barnegat Light. An achievement and proof of reaching the top.

And it makes me think about fear. Not fear of heights, but fear of success. I did make it to the top of this lighthouse, but not without fear. Unfounded fears - logically nothing terrible would happen. The stairs weren't about to dissolve under me, the railing wasn't going to give out if I leaned on it.

Fear is normal. It keeps us out of trouble and away from danger. But, fear also prevents us from reaching our full potential. I'm not talking about rational fears - like waking up to find a bear in your tent, or petting a dog that clearly wants to bite you. It's the irrational fears - like my trip to the top of the lighthouse (especially irrational because I'm not normally afraid of heights.). This is the fear we allow to sabotage us into not writing, not following our dreams. Fear sometimes turns into that little voice that tells us we're not good enough, that your work stinks and that you can't even construct a proper sentence. It's also partly responsible for the excuses we make for not writing when we should be. (I did say partly.)

That's when having the support of your writing friends helps. Those friends know fear and recognize the need for a kick in the butt, a shoulder to sob on, or a phone call to talk you through the rough patch. Writing friends know the path you're on. They're not strangers to what's going on inside your head. Every rocky step and oily mud puddle are familiar to them and they're the first to reach out a hand in support and understanding. They can help dissolve your fears, or at least temporarily banish the demons. If you don't have a writing support group, find one. You won't be sorry.

Writing is a solitary endeavor. It doesn't have to be a lonely one.

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