Writing Through the Fear

It’s no secret that we writers suffer bouts of fear now and then (maybe even more than just now and then) while we’re writing. I’m not talking about the kind of fear where the heart is pounding so hard it’s about to burst through the rib-cage. I’m talking the garden variety fear that prevents forward movement or progress. As much as I love gardens, we don’t want that kind of fear or any other variety in our lives.

Recently, I participated in a Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference Workshop designed to guide writers through and past any fears, and to forge ahead and carry on their writing. Fear-free. Here’s a summary of the outcome – plenty of solid suggestions to overcome fear to reach those two, oh-so-sweet words, “The End”:

– Free-write whatever your heart desires, or rant about the fear;
– Devise a ritual to get into the writing zone;
– Have you tried meditation or yoga to free the mind? Now may be a prime time to give it a go to make the fear disappear;
– Write right after waking up in the morning, and before doing anything else, while the mind is clear and open (unless you wake up from a distressing dream that’s hard to shake; if that happens skip this step and try again another time;
– Research (scan headlines or brainstorm) to shoo away the fear;
– Exercise. Movement can work wonders to free the mind and get you in the zone;
– Take a shower or bath to start the creative juices flowing;
– Try visualizing how marvelous you’ll feel once you’re done writing;
– Take on a writing prompt;
– Use tech tools to prevent distractions from thrashing around your writing life (e.g., writeordie.com, for instance);
– Create a special space just for your characters to “live” and “breathe”, to help bring them to life; and
– When all else fails, read for inspiration. Reading encourages words to flow through your head, crowding out any fears.

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