This is the second in a three-part series on attitudes, specifically for people in publishing, but probably applicable to just about anyone. Two months ago I addressed the issue of pessimism. Today, we’ll talk about the first cousin of pessimism…fear.
If a book were to be written about fear, it would be the titled something along the lines of this blog-post. It would be a short volume with dozens of lists of those things that will make you afraid. No explanations are provided why you should be afraid of them, just lists of everything that someone has been afraid of at some point. The subtitle would be “Is that noise coming from the closet?”
Theologically speaking we are reminded by Jesus himself that we shouldn’t fear things of this earth, only those things that can affect your soul, because God knows that Satan is able to use fears to paralyze even the strongest among us.
Politics, relationships, driving a car, schools, spiders, the air we breathe and the food we eat have fear attached, whether real or imagined. If you don’t believe me, just watch TV news for five minutes. There’s an entire segment of the entertainment industry (movies, television and books) spawning fear if you don’t have enough of it already.
Authors and aspiring authors can easily fall prey to fear.
Spending a lot of time creating something all for naught.
And dozens more. There’s probably a chapter of the above-referenced book especially for authors. Fear can paralyze an otherwise optimistic, creative mind.
So what can we do? We don’t replace fear with some sort of mindless positive thinking that convinces us we can do anything, but through prayer, preparation, training and practice, we replace fear with confidence that we did our part and the rest is out of our control.
Sports Analogy Alert – A basketball player knows he/she can make free-throws at the end of a close game because they made that shot a hundred times a day in practice, so they get up the line and let it fly. If they make it, great. If they don’t, they did everything they could. Disappointed, but not defeated.
I’ve often wondered if creative paralysis and burnout for authors is rooted in the false premise that they are responsible for the results that come from your work.
In reality, publishing is one of the most complicated and multi-faceted endeavors on this planet. Success or failure in publishing is never easily attributed to one thing. It is always a combination of many factors, most of them out of the control of an author.
Spiritually speaking, are you called to share your faith and convert people? No. The former is your God-powered privilege and the latter is the function of God alone. You do your part and leave the fruit to God.
Here are some steps to defeating fear in the life of an author:
- Look up…every day to the source of all your hope, creativity and inspiration.
- Look down…at your work and keep writing, growing and learning.
- Give up…the responsibility for the results that only God controls.
How do you fight fear in your writing life?