Thursday, April 7, 2011

F: Facing your fears

The boss is out for the rest of the week, I have my weekly latte, and I just cranked up Les Miserables on my computer. No better time to talk about fear and introduce you to my friend Jack Finnegan.

I've known Jack since elementary school and one fond memory I have is Jack singing Phantom of the Opera very quietly on the bus. That was my first introduction to musical theater--thanks, Jack!

I digress. This blog has nothing to do with show tunes and everything to do with fear. And Jack.

I was afraid to start a blog and even more afraid to tell people about it. What if it sucked? I was afraid to tell my friends I was doing NaNoWriMo for fear... well, I don't know what I was afraid of. But embracing the role of writer? That's scary. That involves risk, a real likelihood of no money, and even worse, bad reviews.

Jack was generous enough to take time out of preparations for his around-the-world adventure, City Love Song, and talk to me about how he got beyond the fear. His first line made me stop and rethink my entire approach to writing:

"It took a little more than ten years for me to stop chasing my dream and start building it."

Jack Finnegan
City Love Song, 2011
Oh, snap! What a great perspective. I've been thinking about what it would be like to be published and I never actively stopped to look at how I can build my dream. I suppose this blog is one step. Applying to teach at the local writing center is another one. Slowly, I'm building my own framework.

Better than the framework though, is Jack's faith. He explained, "...there are things I don't understand, or know how to do. But I have friends and colleagues and family members who have my back. Even if the work were to collapse, I know that I myself would be okay."

Jack's right. He will be okay. He has the framework of his dream in place and a great support network to catch him should he ever fall. (Which he won't need but I'm sure he's grateful for nonetheless.)

I am excited to follow Jack's adventures but I can't lie: I'm a little envious. He's doing it--he's living his dream. But instead of passively watching, I can build mine. It might take ten years or more (likely more), but if you love doing something, isn't that reason enough?

How about you? Do you feel your fears hold you back from reaching your dreams? How have you worked around that fear?

("I Dreamed a Dream" is now playing. How apropos.)


  1. I know that my fears hold me back, but they're not necessarily the ones that you would think of. I don't have a fear of failure. That one I'm good with. in fact, I actively set myself up on a daily basis to fail. It's what I know.

    But the fear of succeeding...yeesh. The fear of validating myself in a positive manner scares the bejeesus at me. I'd be constantly looking around the corner to try and keep an eye on it all crumbling down.

    I'd rather just sit here and suck. Because I'm good at it. I do well with it and I'm comfortable with it. :-)

  2. Beautiful post. I have a fear of forging a path on my own. I don't know if it's a fear of failure necessarily? But fear of going it alone? I know I need to kick this thing.

  3. Oh, yeah, definitely fear, in dread flavor. Not of succeeding or failing, but of the actual creative process. I'll be blogging about it on 'S' day in the challenge - it will make sense by then. It's a 'deep-end' experience for me, and after awhile I built up a dread of going too deep for too long.

  4. Ah, fears. Yes, I have them and they hold me back. Whenever I think about the consequences of publishing these novels I write, I get the little twist in my stomach.

    It isn't a fear of failure or success. It's a fear of what will be said about me, because of the novels. I know bad things will be said, and wrong conclusions drawn. I just hope I can deal with it properly.

    For now my method of dealing with the fear is to take a deep breath, ignore it and keep moving.

  5. My fears have always held me back, however, as they say, "it's never too late to start." I am finally, actively pursuing my dream. I only wish I could be doing it full time. But, someday before too many more years, even that will be a reality. Nice to meet a fellow writer. I am your newest follower.

  6. i distinctly remember when i stopped chasing my dream and started building it. It was at the same time where i realized i actually had to work to reach my goals, instead of just relying on hope.
    Since i made those realizations, things have gone much easier for me. Here's hoping it continues that way

  7. Great post. I love Les Miserables: we sang some of the songs in choir and I got to see it in NYC when I was a teen. Wonderful songs. I'm not sure how I face my fears per say. I try to do things even if they make me really nervous, like public speaking. With writing; right now I just write. I blog and if people enjoy the posts that is great but I honestly can't remember why I started the blog 2 years ago, let alone if I was scared. Maybe I should work on seeing fear more because it's not an emotion to normally go unnoticed.

  8. I made the switch from dreaming to building last year. Most fulfilling thing I ever did. If I never get published it wouldn't matter because I feel like I have found myself through writing. Awesome post!

  9. I think my moment was last year. I still feel the fear but it's spurring me on more than hindering me now. Yay!! Love this post! Nice to meet another fellow Minnesotan.

  10. Fear of failure rings strong for me. Why bother trying, failing and disappointing myself? It's choosing the fear rather than facing the consequences of not choosing to face your fear. Which is scarier. And way to go to Jack, what an opportunity. And an adventure! How fun.


I love getting comments. They're as much fun as getting real snail mail. So please, chime in and tell me what you think!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...