It’s Just Fear Talking by Tracy Krauss

My colleagues have posted some excellent articles this month dealing with common ‘writerly’ fears and how to overcome them. Nothing worth doing comes easily or so it seems. So it makes sense that this also applies to the writing life. To quote writer Jeff Goins, “Do it afraid.” Good advice. Some of the best learning comes outside our comfort zones.

At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, there are plenty of ways to step into the discomfort zone right here within our organization. For instance, InScribe offers a variety of contests throughout the year, with judges ready, willing, and able to tear your darling entry to shreds.

Just kidding, of course! That last bit was FEAR talking. In reality, our judges are caring individuals who are unbiased, experienced, and truly have your best interests at heart. You’re a winner even if you don’t ‘win’ because they always give constructive feedback. If you’ve been afraid to enter a contest, why not do it this year?

Another opportunity that often causes anxiety is submitting a piece to one of our publications. Did you know that any member can submit to Fellowscript? You don’t need to wait to be solicited. Just follow the guidelines, take a deep breath, and hit ‘send’. The worst that could happen would be that the editor would laugh in your face and then email the rest of the executive so that everyone would know how preposterous you were to even think you could get something published.

No! Of course that’s not going to happen. Darn that FEAR. He keeps trying to get in your head. Instead, your piece might actually get accepted and they’ll even pay you for it.  You may have to make some changes, but the editorial staff is made up of nice people. They’ll guide you through the process, and even if your piece doesn’t make it into that issue, they’ll probably offer some encouragement and suggestions for future submissions.

How about attending a writers’ conference? I’m surprised to hear how many people are fearful of attending their first conference because somehow they don’t feel worthy to hob-knob with ‘real’ writers. I have news. We’ve all been there. Of course, new attendees will be grilled about their publishing credits in front of the entire assembly and made to feel inadequate if they aren’t up to a certain standard.

Oh dear… FEAR has really crossed the line this time. While there may be certain individuals who operate this way at some conferences, this has not been my experience at an InScribe conference. Susan King, editor from The Upper Room, described the recent conference as ‘a party for the soul’. Conference is warm inviting, inclusive, and fun – just the kind of atmosphere to knock FEAR onto his butt.  

There are so many other ways you can get FEAR to whisper in your ear, but by now, you’re getting wise to the sound of his voice. Join a writers’ group. Ask a ‘silly’ question on the listserv. Submit a piece to the IWO blog. Ask for a blue pencil critique. FEAR will try to respond, but you know better. Just laugh in his face and do it anyway – afraid.

Tracy-Krauss-150H-72Tracy Krauss writes from her home in northern British Columbia. She has learned to ignore FEAR’s constant chatter and chooses instead to keep writing and submitting all kinds of stuff – good, bad, and otherwise.  –fiction on the edge without crossing the line

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