Do you scare yourself on a regular basis? I’m not talking about a bad hair day or a spooky Halloween costume. I mean, do you take risks? Do you step out of your comfort zone? Do you undertake activities that you’ve never done before?
If your answer is no, we encourage you to consider the benefits of scaring yourself regularly—daily, if possible. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
As a writer, staring at a blank page on your computer screen can be scary. Each day, you must challenge yourself to shape ideas, characters, story lines, even complete worlds. It can seem like a daunting task. No doubt, writing takes courage. (Thank goodness for coffee!)
Maybe a different fear is holding you back: public speaking, promoting your work, publishing your story, exposing your writing to criticism. Whatever your fears might be…face them. Scare yourself. Do what you are most afraid to do.
As Mark Twain famously said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” When you face your fears, you often discover that many were unfounded. This gives you courage to face the next hurdle. Each new challenge provides wisdom and teaches resilience.
The truth is, you cannot have success without failure. You will stumble. Things will go wrong. Your work will be rejected or criticized. Read the bios of almost any successful writer and you’ll hear about rejections and criticism. It’s okay. It’s how we learn and grow. Mastery of any skill takes practice, time, and perseverance. Don’t let fear of these inevitable ups and downs paralyze you. “Inaction breeds doubt and fear,” Dale Carnegie once said. “Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
Scare yourself (at least a little bit) every day. It’s important.