Saturday, 4 October 2014

Fighting the fear

Ever felt those nagging doubts niggling in your head? Or those stomach churning moments that prevent you from achieving? I think we've all experiences them at some point in our lives, and from what I'm hearing writers seem to have an endless supply of these experiences. The sad thing is the niggling thoughts and fears stifle their creative flow and hinder them in their craft.

On Wednesday night, I attended a writers' group meeting in Birmingham - in contrast to my previous visit the numbers were much lower. The reason: a workshop. The evening was a dedicated workshop on plotting - personally, I jumped at the chance to attend and had a whale of a time doing group work and I'm pretty chuffed with the plot our group produced in virtually no time. But, and here's the relevance, I reckon others shied away from the experience, stayed at home for the fear of having to work in groups, the fear of trying something new and maybe the fear of learning new methods.  How do I know this? Because there was a time - way, way back, when I'd have been one of them... honest, I would have been. I'd have kidded myself that I didn't need any more tips and skills on plotting, a night of writing would be more advantageous for my project and discussing various genres other than my own wouldn't help me in any way. But I'd have been wrong, the truth being I was squashed by fear. I continued to be wrong until I learnt there's a bigger enemy than fear, and that's regret!

For me this was an epiphany moment; my own self-constructed fears were stopping me achieving. And I, was the only one that could change that. Looking back fear had hindered me since childhood not just in writing but it's something I had to change. That may sound easy, it wasn't. You need to look at your mind set, the way you view/react to opportunities and on some occasions go against your natural instinct but face the fear you must! Having done it a few times I found it got easier, but hey doesn't everything with practise? After years of doing it, I don't give it a second thought now.

My advice to any writer would be 'just do it' regardless of the nagging doubts - because one day something wonderful will arise from your creative efforts and then neither fear nor regret will exist for you.


Anonymous said...

Spot on, Bernadette. Fear of failure, fear of looking stupid, fear of being the worst one in the room and showing yourself up etc. etc.
And as writers we are full of self-doubt and shaky confidence.
Well done you on conquering it!

Bernadette O'Dwyer said...

Thank you... I think the realisation that everyone else is feeling the same and the feared outcome, once tackled, is never as big or as bad as you'd imagined.