May 2, 2016

How Fear almost Prevented me from Writing my Book.

Flickr/Walt Stoneburner

I have always wanted to be an author. When I was a kid, I would staple together cardboard and paper and write my own books. I loved to write—it was in my blood.

But I stopped writing. I was told, “You can’t write. You are great at math, but you suck at writing.”

Okay, maybe not in that verbiage, but I was strongly encouraged to chase after math and science and to leave writing to those who wanted to be poor for the rest of their lives. (Later, I found out I was actually an excellent writer, and all my teachers predicted I would be an author.)

But since I was told to stop writing—I did.

I only wrote for homework assignments. I stopped writing in my journals. I stopped writing poetry. I just stopped writing.

However, the fire inside me to publish a book was still there. This time, it was different fear that nearly stopped me.

I wanted to write a cookbook, but that inner critic was loud and obnoxious: “You can’t write a book. No one will want to read it. You will end up poor and homeless, and you will die.” Yeah, my inner critic can be a real jerk.

I chose not to listen. I chose to rise above it and publish my book anyway, even with my inner critic shouting at me. Eventually I got him to quiet down. Not by shouting back or ignoring him, but by thanking him for keeping me safe.

You see, our fears are there to keep us safe. Way back when we roamed in the wild, our fear was there to prevent us from getting eaten by a lion or doing something stupid that would get us kicked out of the tribe (and therefore die). Basically, our fears were keeping us from dying.

Which is still true today, but now that there aren’t any lions around, our fears are working in a new way to keep us safe and accepted in our current tribe. Consciously we know that if we do something out of the box, it won’t end in a painful death, but we may receive some scorn. However, subconsciously we still believe that doing something the rest of our tribe can’t accept will cause them to shun us and so we will starve to death.

Writing a book equates to that out of the box something that could get us kicked out of our tribe. We get scared about writing a book because not too many people actually do it. Yes, lots of people talk about it, but how many people do you know personally have written a book?

So we don’t do it. Our fear talks us into staying safe, so we don’t die—but that isn’t a way to live. Taking chances, making big leaps and risking everything—that is what life is about. And writing a book is taking that leap—taking that chance.

You might get kicked out of your current tribe (more likely, they will just be confused), but I can tell you that there is a bigger and better tribe out there—waiting for you with open arms—who will love you as you are right now.

If you have been wanting to write your book, but your fears have held you back, just take the leap. Make that jump. We will be here to catch you and love you just as you are.


Author: Rachel Vdolek

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Walt Stoneburner

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