by Charis Joy Jackson
I feel like I’ve written about this topic over and over again. Coming at it from different angles, hoping to inspire, hoping to encourage and provoke aspiring authors and professionals alike. But today, I’m going to just come straight out and say it.
I get excited meeting other writers and I’ve been meeting a lot lately. I ask them what they write and they tell me they haven’t really started anything yet, but they want to. I ask them what’s stopping them and while the answers vary with excuses, ultimately it all comes from the same place.
They are afraid and they’ve let that fear stop them.
I’m so done with seeing fear win.
There’s a comedy sketch with Bob Newhart where he plays a therapist, Dr. Switzer, meeting with a client, Catherine Bigman, for the first time. He starts by telling Catherine he charges five dollars for the first five minutes and then after those five minutes doesn’t charge anything else. Sounds like a dream come true for Catherine, but then Dr. Switzer says he guarantee’s the meeting won’t last that long.
Confused, she agrees to the payment and they start the session. She begins to tell him of her fear. She’s afraid of being buried alive in a box.
He sits and listens to her like a good therapist. Nodding his head, making noises and asking pertinent questions all to encourage her to continue. Then once she’s finished describing how far this fear extends he tells her he’s got two words for her. He tells her to listen carefully, to take these words with her and to incorporate them in her life.
Intrigued she pulls out her notepad to write them down and that’s when he says it.
What if it’s as simple as that? To stop it.
Fear paralyses us, but think about it. We’re the ones feeding it. It’s our own creativity and imagination working against us. What if I don’t succeed? What if I can’t write? What if I’m not good enough? And the “What if’s” continue pilling up like an excellent tragedy.
But, what if we tried?
Even if we don’t succeed we tried. Even if we find that writing is a lot tougher than we expected, at least we stepped out of our comfort zone. Even if we really aren’t good enough, at least we know where our weaknesses are and we can grow from them.
The truth is, none of us start out as super human wordsmiths knowing exactly what to write. The good news though is we can grow to become great novelists, but it takes time and practice. If we let fear win, we never give ourselves the chance to practice and if we don’t practice then we’ll never learn.
So if you’re feeling particularly stuck at the moment with your writing, or if you haven’t yet put pen to paper, please watch Bob Newhart’s hilarious sketch Stop It and let the simple truth wash over you.
And if you still struggle with fear, then listen carefully to these ten words. Write them out and take them with you. “Stop it or I’ll bury you alive in a box.”
Write! You’re actually more creative than you give yourself credit. Remember all those “What if’s” that pile up in your mind and paralyze you? That’s creative thinking too! Yes, it’s negative, but it still takes energy to come up with all those fears. How about doing something more productive with your mind. Start creating those epic adventures trapped behind the walls of fear. Break the walls down and like Nike says, “Just do it.”
Stop letting excuses take over.
Stop letting fear get in the way.
Stop giving in to self doubt.
Stop it and try believing in yourself for once. Try believing in a creative God who created you to create and go and write.
I dare you.