Turn Fear Into Productivity

Most days when I sit down to write, I’m terrified. When I think about writing, I’m afraid. Of failure. Of not being good. Of never finishing anything. Fear is a real part of my life. A real emotion I feel every day. And with the new year coming up, I’ve started thinking about the direction I want my life to go and how to get there.

Here’s what I’ve figured out. If fear is going to motivate me, I’ll use it to push me in the direction I want to go. I finished book one of the series I am writing in July (unpublished as of right now) and worked on editing it through October. When I reached that point, the most terrifying thought for me was losing momentum and never writing more. Never finishing the series. Never letting other people read this story I feel trapped inside of me. LOTS OF FEAR.

I know myself pretty well, and fear is an immobilizer for me. Fear freezes me where I am when nothing is pushing me forwards. But I also know that I’m afraid of being a failure in life, and I’m pretty darn scared of public humiliation. So my solution to guarantee that I keep myself writing, and my motivation for finishing my book series, is to start more writing obligations, i.e. this blog. I have an Instagram I mostly use to prove to myself I can stay committed to a social media presence. I’m writing this blog because I feel like the writing process gets really lonely, but tons of people are doing the same thing, so maybe we can be lonely together. Or encouraged by one another, whatever.

On top of things I put online, I’ve also made a rigorous timeline to finish the books in my series. It’s very optimistic. Probably overly optimistic, but I’d rather try and not quite make it than have a generous deadline for myself, drag it out for too long, and never finish. I already have a book series in mind to write after I finish this one, so I don’t have a choice but get on top of my game. (Or be an unhappy failure forever.) I also journal every day, which is writing for only me but nonetheless, writing.

I’ve made so many writing commitments that I plan my week out in advance to make sure I do everything and also schedule time for making up the stuff that I don’t get done. Plus, you know, my job to pay the bills. Because writing does not pay well (or at all right now). I’m definitely not writing to make money, although I am hoping that will be a result of my writing in the future.

Now that I’ve said all that, the fear of not accomplishing it has already sunk in. If I stop journaling, and never blog, and don’t finish my book series, and fall off the face of the planet connected to social media, everyone will know. The world will know. I am good at making plans, and the idea that everyone knows all my plans fail is terrifying.

People reading this blog post makes me afraid, and that’s fuel I’m going to use to write.

You don’t have to post it on a blog. You don’t have to tell anyone if the idea of people finding out is scary enough. If it’s not, then tell your writing goals to friends or family who will check in with you. Give them permission to embarrass you if you’ve gotten 200 words out of 20,000 written by your deadline. Figure out what makes you so afraid that immobility is not an option and use it to motivate yourself to put words on the page, because most days that’s the hardest part.

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