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It’s Time to Name Your Fear

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
– Stephen King

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
– Stephen King

Let me tell you about a mistake I made.

Back in 2008, I had an idea for the most epic story I’d ever considered.

It covers 15,000 years. It introduces characters who are beloved by every beta reader I’ve shown them to. It’s massive and amazing and heartbreaking and powerful.

I knew then this novel would be one of the best, biggest things I would ever write. I also knew it was huge and scary and I wasn’t ready.

I was terrified I’d screw it up. End result: I froze.

Spoiler alert: I should have at least tried.

The truth

I put off writing Notte because I was afraid. Here we are five years later, and I’m writing the book, but I’m still struggling through that fear. Of course I am. I gave it power because I waited to start.

In light of this, I have a challenge for you.

You probably have a story inside you. There’s some tale you NEED to tell – whether it’s real life, fantasy, a freaking awesome cookbook, the greatest spy novel ever made, or even just a beautiful children’s story.

Here’s the question of the hour: what fear is stopping you?

Don’t think too hard about the answer.

Chances are, something came to your mind the moment I asked that question.

Is it fear you won’t have time?

Is it fear of failure?

Is it fear no one will like it?

Is it fear you lack ability?

Is it the fear that you simply don’t know how started?

Your challenge:

Reply. Just hit reply and type the thing that scares you.

If you’re afraid of commenting publicly, just send me an email instead.

I want to help you conquer that thing that’s stopping you – but I can’t unless you give it a name.

The brilliant Mr. King’s quote may have tipped you off: everybody faces fear, and that fear is usually at its worst right at the beginning.

Some Supplies

In the meantime, here are a couple of resources to help beat the bogeyman.

Let’s do this together. Hit reply and give your fear a name.

By Ruthanne Reid

Ruthanne Reid is one of those pesky fanfiction authors who made good, and thus eschews most labels. Except for being a Generation X-er (or maybe Xennial, according to some guy’s webpage), a musician who loves music but also carries a ton of baggage about it, a self-taught graphic artist who designs her own covers, a spoonie who wrestles Fibromyalgia not unlike yon Hercules and the Nemean lion, a Christian who hesitates to use the word because too many of them are crazy but Jesus is pretty great, a rabid shipper who’s too smart to lay out precisely which ships because of the wars, and an avid reader when she isn’t busy caretaking for some pretty ill folks.

You know. Unlabelable.

Currently a resident of Long Island City and a loving mommy to one current cat and numerous future ones, Ruthanne is happily married to a fellow geek who loves good stories and great games as much as she does. Between the two of them, they own a lot of things that need to be plugged in.

8 replies on “It’s Time to Name Your Fear”

I hear you, MC. Boy, do I hear you! Those are two HUGE hurdles to get over, no question.

I can give you two nuggets I’ve mined over the years – three things that I want you to cling to, tightly:

1. You have the ability and skill. It’s going to take work; this is like dredging up a diamond and refining it, no joke. But you DO have that skill.
2. How do I know? Not only from what I’ve seen; I know because you can recognize good stories and good writing. You know what moves you! Writing is NOT like some skills, which are born; writing is MADE. If you can recognize it, then you can achieve it. It will just take a lot of time.
3. Most importantly of all: if you can like what you write, other people will. Let me reword that: if you write something you would like to read, other people will like it, too. They will. You just have to find the right ones. (And that’s a whole other discussion! 🙂 )

I know that feeling, Marianne – and it’s absolutely terrifying! I’m sorry that one bit you; it’s a difficult infection to get rid of.

The amazing thing that took me YEARS to figure out is this: even if it still sucks, you can keep working on it.

There’s no such thing as it just being done, and then set in stone, sucking. You can keep fixing it.

It only “stops” if you stop writing it.

This post is amazing, and you are amazing! I’ve spent the last few days thinking about it. I believe my greatest fear is actually committing to writing my ideas because of the same reservation I have every time: I’m afraid that I have a decent idea, but that it’s not fully formed enough to be sustainable and that I’ll write a good deal of it until it fizzles out disappointingly, possibly because the idea was no good to begin with and why bother O_O <— My brain, not the truth. I have a handful of stories hanging in limbo because of this precise sustainability problem and in all cases I don't really know how to overcome the obstacle in the plot.

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