Friday, April 10, 2009

What Have You Faced?

"Do one thing every day that scares you."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

I may not do something every day that scares me, but I have done things that I feared. When I was eighteen, I went to South Africa for a year as an Exchange student. Now that was stepping outside my box. I was halfway around the world, and I could not talk to my mother for months at a time. It was singularly one of the most self defining moments of my life. This experience made me realize I could meet challenges head on, and although it wasn't easy, I could learn, grow, and benefit from them.

Facing my fears sparked something in me, and I’ve found I’ve been facing them ever since (which leads to some interesting stories—like the time I rappelled off a castle wall). Still, confronting your fears is never easy.

As a writer I face many fears, some of them self imposed, some of them come with the territory. There are internal fears, those awful questions, such as: Will I ever finish my story? Will I ever be published? Will someone like my story? Why am I writing? Should I really attempt to write a certain type of scene? Is it even worth it? I could go on and on….

I am also facing external fears, such as: Am I writing enough pages/words? Am I making my self-imposed deadline (all right that’s an internal thing), and my decision to go to part time in order to write more and be with my family—will this give my family too much of a financial hardship?

So many fears.

I continue to write, and I am going to make this part time work. As for my other fears, I'll take them one at a time.

Are you doing something that scares you? What kind of fears have you faced, and overcome?


Christine said...

Ah, fear, that is writing territory I know well. "Courage is not the absence of fear, but feeling the fear and doing it anyway." A quote I live by--haphazardly at times as I let letdowns dampen my enthusiasm and must jumpstart the desire to write again and again with every little disappointment.

I am amazed at the courage you have to face the fear of having less money and going for it! I am amazed at the courage you have to write about that fear. By making the writing a priority you are making a commitment to your dream!!

My ongoing fear is that I might be wasting my talents in an area that may yield little financial rewards and I know that my family can benefit from me bringing a salary into the house. But then, a greater fear emerges whenever I consider caving to that desire: the fear that I will wake up when I am 90 and realize I never gave it my best shot and writing is what I was born to do.

Writing is what we are, it is what we want to do all the time. The stories are there... write them, hopefully sell them, but the main thing is to write them.

Good luck! And best wishes to you as you go for the gold....

M.V.Freeman said...

Thank you so much Christine,
and you also voice fears I have...and you know writing is what we are. Its like breathing...if we are forced to stop in many ways we wither and die. It is frightening.

I am glad you are continuing onward, and I will encourage you, and everyone else as we face our fears and continue to my father would say, "It's a quest!"

Christine said...

Your Dad sounds like a great man, M.V. The journey is the point. And there is a song out by Mylie Cyrus (well she sings great lyrics medium well, but I love the song despite that issue) about the mountains she has to climb (hmmmm... too young to really know that for real), but the point of the song is that it isn't about getting to the top or to see what is on the other side: "it's the climb." And what a climb it is! Interestingly, no matter how many mountains we scale, there is always another one waiting. Another goal or problem.

So we better like the climb and enjoy the scenery along the way. The people we meet along the path, the interesting stories we hear about people who've reached a stop further ahead, and also a willingness to always lend a hand out to those coming behind us. Because no matter where we are: there's always someone ahead and there's always someone behind.

Keep your eye on the peak!! And I will encourage you as well!! I'm glad I finally got my internet back up and was able to read your post! It reminded me of the reasons why we do pursue this great passion.

M.V.Freeman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M.V.Freeman said...

I must learn, that when I am trying to post a reply to not publish it accidently....LOL

You are so gracious Christine, and such wise words! I forget sometimes the whole journey, as I struggle with some writing issue, I have to realize that it is only a small thing, in the whole scheme of the writing climb.

It is humbling to know there is always someone ahead, and someone behind. I agree with you, helping others is something important, because it is the encouragement of fellow writers that helps when we hit that moment of, "I give up".

So, here's to us writers! :)

As an aside, those storms were quite vicious today!

Louisa Cornell said...

I've done quite a few scary things in my life, although I didn't really think they were scary at the time. (Ah, the ignorance of youth!) I've been hang gliding off the coast of Spain, mountain climbing in the Austrian Alps, bungee jumping, drove on the Autobahn (NASCAR has NOTHING on those Germans!) I've been fox hunting in England (jumping large horses over even larger hedges and walls at break-neck speeds and hanging on for dear life) I've sung opera all over the world in front of thousands of people. I taught high school English, people! Now THAT'S scary!

But, I think the scariest thing I have EVER done is sent something I have written out to be judged by other writers, editors and agents. It is such an act of blind faith and hope that it scares me to death every time I do it.

I'm not as brave as those of you who have left jobs or cut back to have more time to write. I envy you the courage it takes to do that.

M.V.Freeman said...

I love some of the adventures that you have taken! How absolutely fabulous. I was quite taken with the bungee jumping and the fox hunting (Horses and I have an understanding...we don't bother each other.).

And I agree, that blind faith as you send out work to those judges, editors, and is very hard...harder yet to get the result.:)

I also wanted to say, I'm so impressed with what you have accomplished. You work full time and care for those rescued amazes me!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I'm cheering you on, Mary! :) Love that quote from Eleanor. Awesome.

One of my fears happened at the meeting today -- giving a workshop in front of a crowd. Ack! Not sure I'll ever get used to that. :)

Best of luck with the part time. It'll take a while to get into the groove, etc, but give yourself time. And give yourself room to grow. It's early days yet. :) You will be published if you don't quit. And that is often the hardest part -- to keep going when it seems hopeless. Been there, done that. You can too. :)

M.V.Freeman said...

Thank you so much for your encouragement Lynn, it means more than you know!

As for your workshop, it was outstanding, I loved it. I actually was internally seeing where my story fit, and what my hero really was.

You are very much a natural at speaking. I am not so much..LOL, but I will if pressed, with much gnashing of teeth.

Christine said...

Lynn: I second the vote--I enjoyed the workshop a lot. I found myself plugging in my hero and heroine into the different archetypes. And I like the tangible comparisons to the movies STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES & more. Thanks for taking the time to teach us on short notice,