Fear Not by Marcia Richards

 Welcome to another Life List Club Friday! Today, I’m guest blogging at Pam Hawely’s blog and we have the lovely Marcia Richards with us once more. Take it away, Marcia!

***

Thank you, Sonia, for being a gracious hostess. In keeping with your Fear Friday theme, I offer your readers a post about fear.

Fear Not

Fear will stop us in our tracks, no matter what we were planning to do. Fear can show up disguised as uncertainty or procrastination.

I recently learned I had not written my novel outline  in great enough detail. How did I figure this out? I kept putting off writing my story. I put it off because I wasn’t sure what to write next. I didn’t have solid plan of action. In addition, I knew had some poorly written passages that needed fixing. I was afraid to move forward because I was unsure of my next move and of my ability to write it well. I was afraid to go back and fix what was wrong because I was not sure I knew how to do it right.

I know I’m not alone and that every writer has moments like these. In fact most people put some task ‘on the back burner’ because they can’t bring themselves to complete it. Uncertainty causes us to think, “Someone will find out I really don’t know what I’m doing!” or “I’m supposed to know how to deal with this! What’s wrong with me?”

If our usual reaction is to procrastinate or leave the task that has us stymied  or stuck, our mood is regulating the response.  We are avoiding the negative emotions attached to doing something that is difficult or unpleasant. Self protection from these negative feelings kicks in and we procrastinate, making good excuses not to complete the task at hand. “I have to check my email. It’ll only take a minute.” Oh yes, I have a long list of reasons for not doing what I’m uncertain how to do.

This uncertainty can also be the spark that fires up our creativity, if we change our usual response. If we use our intentional will, instead of our mood, to respond to the desire to flee the task, we can put our focus on the project at hand. Making a small amount of progress will cause the mood to pass.

I experienced this last week when trying to do more than I thought I could actually complete in the time I had available. I fled the tasks, telling myself I was taking on too much in too little time. Want to know what I did instead? I played computer games ‘to clear my head and relax’. I had the time. I was just having trouble completing the writing.

When I went back to it, I promised myself to ‘keep the seat of my pants in the seat of my chair’ and use the games as a treat when I finished. Completing the task rebuilds your feeling of competence and helps us ignite that creative spark again. In other words, just when you think the best plan of action is to walk away, get back in the chair and just get started.

I don’t know about you but, this isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I have to continually remind myself…’don’t sit and think about how daunting or difficult it may be, just forge ahead and do it’. As an introvert, the feeling of uncertainty and fear of the outcome pops up often.

Using short intervals of a series of tasks can also help in making progress, avoiding the fear and procrastination. For example, as a writer, daily duties include writing blog posts, social networking, writing on my WIP, responding to comments on my blog posts, reading other blogs and commenting.  Try assigning a specified amount of time to work on each task. I would allow 30 minutes for researching my blog topic; move on to 15 minutes of responding to comments on a previous post; another 15 minutes to tweeting for fellow writers. Continue in that manner, rotating the jobs to be done until you’ve accomplished what you’d hoped. Don’t allow fear and uncertainty to control your mood and sabotage your progress.

I may have fear, but I need not be my fear. Timothy Pychyl, Ph. D.

Is this ever a problem for you? What’s your method of getting the job done?

Marcia Richards is a veteran blogger and author of Marcia Richards’ Blog…Sexy. Smart. From The Heart. Marcia writes about Sweet Obsessions, 20th Century American History, and the path to realizing your dreams. She has a Historical Trilogy and a collection of Short stories in progress. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing with the grandkids or her husband, traveling or turning old furniture into works of art. She believes there is always something new to learn.

Come hang out with Marcia at Twitter or Facebook.

***

Be sure to check out all the spectacular guest posts from the wonderful Life List Club bloggers in the blogroll on the sidebar.

About these ads
Categories: Life List Club | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Post navigation

14 thoughts on “Fear Not by Marcia Richards

  1. If I hadn’t seen your photo and name on this article, Marcia, I would have thought I had written it. You must be a long lost twin or something. I have the exact same problem you described, in all the gory details.

    Unfortunately, so far I haven’t found a solution, other than to force myself to sit down and write. Even more unfortunately, this doesn’t last for more than a day or two. I can write short stories…flash fiction…without too much problem, but my WIP and a much-requested sequel to my current self-published novel still remain in NeverNever Land.

    The only difference in this area between you and me that I can see is that you are an introvert and I am an extrovert. The result is the same though. I fear the outcome. Some people write because they have to. I have to write but I don’t always do it. That largely condemns me to very limited achievement in my chosen career.

    Thanks, Sonia, for having Marcia as your Fear Friday guest blogger. She has really hit a chord in me.

  2. @Sandra:I know the wicked demon Procrastinator well. It can be so hard to kick. And fear is at the root of much of our procrastination. That’s why it’s important to have a community who understands and encourages. All of you that I’ve met through blogging and Twitter have really helped and encouraged me through the hard times. I love to do the same. :D

    @Marcia: I love this post. You hit the nail on the head. All that fear and uncertainty can really do a number on us. But we can’t ever reach our dreams unless we push through it. I love that the LLC posts this Friday are all about Fear/Procrastination. So awesome!

  3. Marcia is definitely not alone in dealing with performance fright and the fear of failure. From time to time, we all run up against the wall that makes us doubt our talents. I’ve certainly been there and sad to say, will probably be there again. To put a positive spin on it, it’s a sign that we’re striving and want to improve. We just have to put on a happy face and force ourselves to keep plodding until the skies brighten. :) As a history buff, I’m sure Marcia knows which president said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” How true!

    Can’t resist the opportunity to shout out to Sonia. This is my first LLC Friday blog hop and I didn’t realize it was going to be this much fun! Thanks for hosting this great post, Sonia!

  4. Hi Marcia! *waves*

    You’ve said before that I remind you of you, but I gotta tell you, you remind me of ME! I do the exact things you’re talking about for the exact same reasons.

    “I kept putting off writing my story. I put it off because I wasn’t sure what to write next. I didn’t have solid plan of action. In addition, I knew had some poorly written passages that needed fixing. I was afraid to move forward because I was unsure of my next move and of my ability to write it well. I was afraid to go back and fix what was wrong because I was not sure I knew how to do it right.”

    Lately, I’ve just been forcing myself, through sheer will power to work on my wip. I am ignoring the procrastination voice in my head and focusing on how my daughter looks at me when I’ve been writing…can’t let that girl down, she’s idolizing me. With work and family, the going is slow, but at least its going!

    Thanks for a great post, Marcia ;)

    ~ Kate

    • Waving to both you lovely ladies!! And look at the three of us, attending Tiffany Lawson Inman’s class to bust through to the other side of these problems. *blowing on nails…thinking we rock*

  5. Wonderful post Marcia! I know fear leads to procrastination for me in the area of marketing and submitting my work more than anything. I tell myself this is because I’m a writer and I want to WRITE, and that the administrative side of things is “boring.” Wrong. The administrative side is my monster under the bed because it is the part that might lead to someone saying “no.” I tackle it by trying to remind myself that it is also the only way to give a publisher a chance to say “yes” too. I’m slowly getting better …

  6. Lovely post, Marcia! Here was the line that resonated the most with me:

    “..our mood is regulating the response. We are avoiding the negative emotions attached to doing something that is difficult or unpleasant. Self protection from these negative feelings kicks in and we procrastinate, making good excuses not to complete the task at hand.”

    I can’t tell you how often I’ve done this!

  7. Is there a procrastinators anonymous for us? LOL. Seems like so many of us suffer from it. It’s great that we can share all these ideas and encouragement though. :D

  8. How relieving it is to hear you describe some of my secret behaviors! And how reassuring to know that my tricks to alleviate those patterns are in synch with your thinking too. A great read, thank you.

  9. Pingback: Your Health! « Kate Wood's Blog

  10. Jess Witkins

    Oh I like everyone’s advice this weekend. And Marcia, I’m so with you on falling into those pitfalls of poor planning and then not using time wisely. It’s a constant struggle. We have good days and bad days. Right now, I’m working towards more good days and channeling my rewards towards those days and not on the bad days.

    Good luck with that WIP, Marcia, I know you’ll make it happen!

  11. I’m the queen of procrastination. I eventually get something done, but things that are most important to me (my novel) progress slowly. I’ve finished the draft and now I’m in the process of re-writes. It’s a slow process since life tends to get in the way, but that’s no excuse–I know what I need to do–I’m just having a hard time jumping in.

    I really needed to read this post today … so thank you.

  12. Pingback: What You Don’t Know Can Save Your Writing: Guest Post by Sonia G. Medeiros « Jess Witkins' Happiness Project

What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 437 other followers

%d bloggers like this: