Fear has been the topic of the last couple of letters exchanged between Theresa and myself. What is fear? Why do we let fear hold us back?

I read “10 Ways to Harness Fear and Fuel Your Writing” by Sage Cohen in Writer’s Digest September 2011 issue. The sentence “Fear exists to keep us safe” stood out immediately to me. The natural “fight or flight” response uses fear to encourage flight and protect us from pain. A close friend of mine said fear is useful for survival situations, but beyond that it can be harmful and keep us back.

So why do I have so many novel ideas but seem unable to finish them? I have a vague idea of the plot and know how to listen to the characters if the plot happens to change. I have multiple scenes and ideas for each, even written over a hundred thousand words for the one, but I can’t seem to get myself to sit down to finish a nicer draft. Fear of what, exactly?

I’ve always done well in school, so naturally I picked up attempts to be perfect with the highest A’s in the class. But another comment in the article is about fingerprints and how they are unique. Instead of striving for perfection, strive to be unique and an accurate representation of yourself.

It’s certainly something I’ll have to try.


  1. Theresa Williams

    Way to go, Suzy. Great entry. You are asking yourself all the right questions.

  2. Thanks, Theresa! I’m certainly trying to change my mind set with fear, especially since it is interfering with my writing to a degree. The finger print idea has pulled my imagination, even causing me to stop and look at my prints and go, “Huh. Just my finger print. That’s all I should concern myself with when I write. I don’t have to be perfect. That’s why revision exists, even though I know a piece will never be perfect.”

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