: Some time ago I took a writing class, and after a number of timed writing exercises, the teacher announced that each of us should now begin to write a book. In spite of my lack of knowledge about how to go about writing a book and my surprise at finding myself in this situation at all, I said, “Ok” and got to it.
I knew enough to understand that my ignorance of writing and grammar was breathtakingly huge. I didn’t even know how to find the beginning of my ignorance – a place to start my education, so I didn’t worry about it. Instead, I wrote. I wrote by the seat of my pants on five or six hours of sleep a night and I had a blast!
When I finished my novel, a post-apocalyptic, gothic, murder mystery called Blame It on the Moon, it was time to revise. Revising a seat-of-the-pants novel without a clue, on the other hand, was not so much fun, but I learned some things. Eventually, I struggled though a course of self-education and have started a new project using all that I have learned.
Now, more fully aware of my ignorance, I stare fear in the face every day and contemplate questions like, “Who am I to think that people will want to read what I write?”
The intent of fear is, of course, to protect us from the pain potential failure would bring and it’s also a reminder that exciting new territory lies ahead. On the down side, fear unchecked can lead to paralysis, so I fill my toolbox with tools for fighting fear.
I remind myself that learning anything involves failure. For instance, learning to walk means falling down. Mistakes are how we learn. Failure is simply information. Failure is a guaranteed part of learning.
I continue to educate myself by reading blogs and information available for writers, I see that as Whintley Phipps, Founder of the Dream Academy said, “While we may have all come over on different boats, we’re all in the same boat now.” We’re all at different points on the same journey.
A few tricks in my bag are to write at night when I’m more relaxed or early in the morning before I’m fully awake. I am also experimenting with writing using a kitchen timer to focus my attention and set limits for myself.
My bottom line is this: “Even the fear of death is nothing compared to the fear of not having lived authentically and fully.” – Frances Moore Lappe, O Magazine, May 2004
What Could Have Been
Looking down, shaky legs, holding on, standing straight
how long can I wait like this, so high above the world
looking down, all around
people gaze up at me, awed.
“Wow! Amazing! Incredible!” they say.
“How long can she stand up there on top of the world?”
“Maybe forever,” they murmur.
But I know. I am afraid. Afraid to fall. Afraid to lose control.
Afraid of breaking
When I hit the ground.
And when they turn their backs
I reach low, grab hold,
and execute a controlled drop,
with just the smallest thrill of anticipation
I sigh for what could have been.
-© Gwendolyn Huber, 2011