“I just love the way you’ve embraced your fears about doing this…”
These are the words my husband imparted to me during a conversation about where I am in my writing process (editing, mired in the busy work of agent research and query letters, preparing for the inevitable letting go). I laughed. Because embracing my fears? Not at all.
I told him, it’s not so much that I have embraced them or welcomed them or accepted them. It’s more that I have let them sit down next to me like a stranger on a train. I’ve allowed their presence and acknowledge the occasional knee bumping mine. Sometimes they feel small and I can put them in a pocket or a drawer and those times are the best. The rest of the time, they hover like a shadow, over my shoulder, or under the desk. I cross my ankles while sitting in my work chair and half expect to nudge one with my toe. I wonder if I turn around fast enough will I catch one in the act, mimicking me like a bad classroom student imitating their teacher as the rest of the class sniggers and guffaws tacitly siding with the bully’s caricature interpretation while ignoring the sincerity of her words or intent?
Instead, I face front. I keep typing. When the fear starts to breathe against my neck or tap my shoulder more insistently, I focus on my dreamer flower.
Putting myself out there. Doing it scared.
That’s all I can do. All I can ever do. Keep putting myself out there. Keep putting one word after another. Keep compiling lists of agents. Keep finessing that query letter. Keep editing that synopsis. Keep contemplating that manuscript for the next round of edits. Keep putting my butt in the chair every morning. Keep taking it seriously.
The fear is still there. May always be there. But I’ve stopped fighting it. It’s a waste of energy. Let it sit and rest awhile. Maybe it will get bored. Maybe it will leave. Maybe it won’t. Either way, I keep going.
Doing it scared. But doing it.