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FEAR: IS IT GIVING YOU PERMISSION NOT TO LIVE YOUR LIFE?
This is the first post in what I'm calling my "Your Best Life" series. Today I'm talking about fear and how it paralyzes us.
One of my favorite quotes is by author Jon Acuff. "Quit asking fear for permission to do that thing you know you're supposed to do with your life." The first time I read this, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It made me realize that the only reason I didn't pursue my passion for writing was because of fear. It wasn't that I didn't have the drive or talent or that I couldn't do it. It was because I was too afraid to do it.
When I set out to publish my first book, it was kind of scary. I had no idea what I was doing. I had to figure out where to get a cover, how to find someone to format the book, the different procedures on each publishing platform, etc. Still, I had set a goal, and a year and four months later I published my first book.
The same happened when I sent out my first "pitch" to a web site to write a guest post. I had taken a freelance writing course and had learned to write a "pitch," but I didn't know how effective it would be. In the end, the web site I inquired let me write my first online blog post.
The point is, even though I was afraid to do these things and try, I did them anyway. They were not polished and perfect, I have done lots of evolving since then, but I'm glad I did it. I have learned a lot and am still fixing my mistakes. The point is, I decided that fear was not the "thing' that was going to permit me to do the "thing" (writing) that I had always wanted to do. I gave it the boot, took the first step, and have been on a journey of learning ever since.
We get so caught up in the first step having to be perfect that we paralyze ourselves. So many times we ask ourselves a million questions. What if I do it wrong? Am I missing something? What if the first step I take is out of order? What if I fail? We drive ourselves into paralysis analysis and then we do nothing. We waste days and weeks and years of our lives wanting to start correctly.
My first step in writing and publishing my first book was anything but perfect. Sure, I learned how to bring all the elements of a book together, but I forgot something significant. Marketing. I had no idea back then about marketing or what a book launch was. I also didn't know how important it is for the cover of your book to be consistent with the covers of other books in the genre. I have just learned all of this information in the past year or two, and now I'm having to go back and fix my mistakes. Right there is proof that the first step doesn't have to be perfect. If you are sitting on something you want to do, I encourage you to do some research and take the first step today.
Another thing I have learned about fear from Jon Acuff is that fear is schizophrenic. On the one hand, you're so afraid to take the first step; you do nothing. But on the flip side, you feel like you have to do it all at once.
What do I mean by doing it all at once? Things like...
*Signing up for five classes, instead of two your first semester of college, because you feel you have to tackle all your courses at once.
*Feeling like you have to have your funding, business plan, and location all at once before you start your business.
*Exhausting yourself because you feel like a thousand things need to be accomplished before taking the first step.
*Feeling like you have to have everything in place before writing and publishing your first book.
*Feeling like you have to have a massive portfolio before you can start freelance writing.
I felt like this before I published Lithium Dreams and Melancholy Sunrise. I thought that I had to have everything figured out before I started, but I was wrong. The first thing I did was contact someone to format my book. The second thing I did was type up my poems into a file and sent them over to the lady who formats the interior of my books. Next, I looked for a cover and bought it. By taking little steps, the fear eventually dissipated.
I felt empowered with each step I took and accomplished. The moment I hit "publish," I felt like I had conquered the world. It was the coolest thing to see my book for sale online. Sales and marketing didn't matter at that moment; the point was that I did it. I made my childhood dream come true. You will feel this way too as you start moving toward your goal. Your fears will eventually dissipate, I promise.
Is this you? Stop. Whatever your first step is, I highly encourage you to take it. I'm working on writing my first full-length book, and I'm nervous. I have never done this before, so it's going to be an adventure. This will be the first book in my new clean romance series, so I'm right there with you.
Unfortunately, your friends and family may not be as supportive as you like. There may be some that try and hold you back. It's okay, this is normal. It's important to have support, so I suggest finding a Facebook group that is relevant to what you want to do and join. Being with others that are on the same journey as you are empowering. You can also get questions answered and feedback from those who may be a little farther up the path than you. This is invaluable. However, whatever you want to do I have faith in you, and I believe in you. You've got this.
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