I struggle a lot with fear. Whether it be fear of heights, failure, being unliked, being fired, making the wrong decision, this list could go on and one. When I saw some video of a space walk I told my friend that it was a good view, but I would lose my shit. I know that just seeing that vast expanse below me would cause me to snap.
I’m on the cusp of making some major changes. The next few years will bring many opportunities and a whole heaping load of anxiety and doubt. The thing that I most often do when I’m really afraid is to either freeze completely or run in the opposite direction. I rarely grab the bull by its horns and take action. That’s one of those things that has to change. If I let fear keep me from doing things then everyone around me could suffer. Even of they don’t, if the fear is of something very personal, I will suffer. I’ll always wonder if that thing I didn’t do turned out to be that thing I should have done.
A good example of that fear on a smaller scale is fear of finishing a project. When I have everything put together or nearing the final stages, I seem to find reasons for it to not continue. I do other things. Some of it is procrastinating, like watching Daredevil. Sometimes I do work, side work for friends or work around the house. I’ll occasionally start a whole new project. None of this is necessarily a bad thing. But when fear changes from inactivity to activity that gets in the way, it can be just as bad. I guess you could call this “mobilizing” fear. In some ways it’s the flight response manifesting itself differently.
This mobilizing gives you the same problem a certain R2 (or R5) unit had – a bad motivator. You keep running and running, but you don’t actually go anywhere.
How can you tell if you’ve got this problem as a writer? Here are some things that indicate to me you’re about to blow your top:
“I’ve been working on this manuscript for years!”
“This just needs a fifth/sixth/seventh revision and then it will be good enough.”
“I’ll finish this novel one day.”
“i’ll come back to this short story once I get this other idea developed.” (And a string of unfinished short stories.)
“I need to look into how to market/format/get a cover for this [unfinished/unstarted] story.”
Granted some of these could be legit. These are just opportunities for you to check yourself and make sure that you haven’t lost it. What are some instances that you’ve run into where fear has mobilized you? Can fear be a good motivator?