Courage and the writer

Courage has been widely misunderstood as the absence of fear. In the early days of the History Channel (when they actually featured history), soldiers described courage as action in spite of fear, defining it as the ability to face fear. It also includes the ability to identify healthy and unhealthy fear. Healthy fear is that little voice that warns you away from danger, a real intuition that acts as an early warning system, you know, the one every group of teenagers in every horror movie ignores!

By contrast, unhealthy fear paralyzes you and keeps you from your destiny. It is the dread you wake up with that serves no purpose except to keep you stuck, keep you from writing. It’s accompanied by the Greek chorus of “why bother,” “it’s no use,” and “you’ll never make it.”

Here are a few strategies I’ve used to overcome it: writing down goals, a vision board, journaling, being clear on intention(s) and making a conscious effort to stay positive have all pulled me clear of fear’s clammy grasp more than once.

It’s not only about the blank page. It takes courage to persevere when you cannot get an agent or a publisher, when you receive rejection after rejection.. They are not rejecting you as a person and it does help to separate yourself from your work. I know, easier said than done, but essential if you’re in it for the long haul. What about you? What strategies do you use to overcome the various forms of fear that appear in your writing life?