I was never afraid of failure, for I would sooner fail than not be among the best. ~ John Keats
Since I was five years old, the dream has been the same. I’m at the top of the Washington Monument. I step onto the escalator, misstep and fall to the bottom. Of course there’s no escalator in the Washington Monument, but that doesn’t keep my dream from feeling real.
As a result, I’ve been terrified of escalators my entire life. I go out of my way to search for an elevator, even steep stairs frighten me. I know I’m not alone, everyone fears something. Some common fears are death, loneliness, heights, commitment, germs, airplanes, the list goes on. There is even a fear of being afraid, it’s called phobaphobia .
Lately a fear of inadequacy has become an obstacle in my writing life. I fear that nothing I write is good enough. I asked myself, “Why would someone want to read what I write?” I question whether I can write something again that’s worthy of publication. This fear has stifled my creativity.
I started to think back to when I first started writing; before I had to worry about goals and conflicts. When I didn’t know what POV or a story arc was. This was before I studied books on writing and took on-line classes. Before I entered contests or had my work critiqued by a professional and before I was published.
Back then, the words flew on to the page. Yes, it was terrible, but it was fun. I wasn’t overwhelmed by all of the rules. I felt free to let my imagine fly. I was fearless. Now I use my fear to keep me safe. If the story isn’t finished, then I won’t have to send it out and find out it’s bad. If I don’t know it’s bad, I won’t have to face the fact that I’m a terrible writer. These fears have become my protecting shield.
I may never overcome my fear of escalators, but I will be bold once again with my writing. I’ve taken inventory in the fear department and I’m going back to the basics. I want to have fun again. When I’m having fun, I tend to be more creative. So, my future projects will be written purely for the joy of writing. If something gets published along the way, that’s icing on the cake.