These days I’m spending time with my young grandson as he recovers from leg surgery. The first couple of weeks, he stoically endured the painful steps he had to take to begin the process of putting weight back on his leg, but by week three, he’d start to panic at the mere mention that we’d be doing it soon.
The fear of the pending pain became more debilitating than the pain itself.
As I started praying against that, I realized such fear hinders us from doing a lot of things.
Have you ever thought about how many times fear is at the root of procrastination?
Think about it. We know we have to get something done and it should only take a finite amount of time to do and once it’s done we’ll likely be hugely relieved it can be scratched off the to-do list. So why put off doing it?
Why play that game of FreeCell instead? Or check those emails? Or Facebook?
Yes, I’ve come to the conclusion fear is what keeps me from sitting down at the computer and writing the next chapter, especially when I know something in the story isn’t working, and, as much as I’ve been praying for guidance and inspiration, I’m not feeling it.
So I decided to think about what exactly I might be afraid of and came up with a few ideas:
- I’ll waste hours writing scenes I ultimately won’t be able to
- I’ll spend hours at the keyboard and make too little progress to show for it
- What I write will be boring, uninspiring and useless
All three have happened time and again, so the fear is totally justified. But . . .
I also realized that unless I’m going to procrastinate by doing something else practical that needs doing, the reality is writing something gets me a whole lot closer to figuring out how to make the story shine than a game of Free Cell.
So I’ve made myself a two-part reminder note for whenever I’m dogging it:
You won’t finish the story unless you write it.
Every little effort makes the story stronger.
It’s true, too. Just as my grandson’s micro-inch steps make his leg stronger, so do my feeble writing attempts. When I write scenes that don’t work, they help steer me toward what will, and they usually help me to understand my characters better or to see what I haven’t figured out about them yet.
That said, I’ve also learned that it’s a good idea to quit for the day while the ideas are still flowing. I jot a few notes to remind me how to carry on the next time I sit down and then I’m far more eager to get back to it the next day, than if I’d written until my ideas ran dry.
Gotta run now. I have a story to write!
Your Turn: Have you experienced victory over a fear? Did your fear turn out to be worse than what you’d been fearing?
Sandra Orchard—winner of the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, among others—leaps off the garden trails of her herbal-medicine-researcher-turned-amateur-sleuth (Port Aster Secrets) series, to the museum corridors of her plucky FBI art crime agent Serena Jones, in A Fool and His Monet, Another Day Another Dali and Over Maya Dead Body. When not plotting crimes, Sandra plays make-believe with her young grandchildren or hikes with her hubby and husky near their home in Ontario, Canada. Connect at: http://www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard
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