This is the first in my promised series of posts about how to handle The Fear. Writers know it, we all know it. The voice that asks, “What if I’m not good enough?” “What if I can’t do this?” Sometimes it presents as someone else’s comment in your own head about how you’re going to fail, in someone else’s words. But convincing none the less.
I’m here to tell you that entertaining The Fear is putting the cart before the horse. You will be dragging yourself, and it, along. The Fear is the problem, not the thing that you think you’re afraid of! The battle is in a different place. It’s not tomorrow, when you will be sitting down to write. That will be a breeze. It’s now, when you’re at 10 000 words, and you’re not sure how the next 5 000 will go, and you’re worried about it. The worry is the problem.
You need to battle it in a different place – namely, here and now. The present moment.
The way I do this is to put the energy elsewhere. Firstly, recognise that Fear has got you by the throat. Then do the opposite of your usual knee-jerk stress reaction. SLOW DOWN.
This involves trust. I make sure I take care of myself (get ten hours’ sleep, eat a good breakfast, read a book – Marian Keyes is great). Light some incense. Gently clean the floor with some cedar oil or frankincense in water. Do a few affirmations to recentre yourself (I like to write them out or sing them). Play with your child. Then, when your ease comes, or even if it doesn’t, just write (or do whatever your own particular bugbear is).
Remember the joy and the love in all that is. The rest is illusion. Connecting with universal energy is the real work. It’s the only work you actually have to do.
Just show up.
EM Forster said: “Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect …”
I’m sure you will.