Monday, March 29, 2010

Just Suck it Up and Do It!!!




There has been a lot of talk around the blogosphere lately about fear and pushing through it to meet your goals. So I thought I'd throw in my two cents, such as they are.

This is actually something one of my writer friends/crit partners/agent buddies/ real life bestie and I talk about constantly. Oh, if you could only read the emails that fly between us. *sigh*

However, we've more or less come up with the conclusion that all this emotional intensity (to use Christine's phrase) is just a part of who we are. I think creative people in general, and writers in particular, are just wired to feel things in that extra special, super intense way. It's a job requirement. You have to be able to feel in order to make your reader feel as well.

But, with that intensity comes a lot of fear - fear of failure, fear of success, fear that you aren't good enough, fear that you are but no one will know it...

All those feelings are valid and even good for your writing. I think that fear is what helps add the extra spice to your work, the special zing of emotion that has your readers laughing or crying along with you. And I think it pushes us to make our work as perfect as it can be....makes us revise time and again, makes us agonize over finding that exact right WORD.

The problem arises when the fear stops you from doing what you are meant to do. When your fear of finishing that manuscript becomes so crippling you shove it under a bed or Heaven forbid, hit delete. When your fear of rejection causes you to walk away from the computer instead of hitting send. When your fear of criticism has you tossing your manuscript away or sending something unpolished and unready into the world instead of having a crit partner look it over.

So how do you get over the fear? How do you make yourself push past it? Well, I, for one, chant my new mantra....JUST SUCK IT UP AND DO IT!

What, you're tired? Too bad! Just suck it up and do it!

What, you're afraid you won't get the edits right and will have to revise again? Well, guess what, you are probably right. So Just suck it up and do it!!

What, you're afraid your crit partners are going to take their red pens and SHRED your manuscript? They've done it before and they'll do it again. So Just suck it up and do it!

Fear has it's place in our lives, and it's not always a bad thing. But you can't let it stop you. Roll with it. Grab it by the hand and tell it you love it. Buy it some flowers and make kissy faces at it. Stick your tongue out or give it the finger. Do whatever you have to do to make peace with your fear....and then suck it up and just do it. Cause no one is going to do it for you and chances are, they wouldn't do it as well as you even if they could. Make fear your new BFF and show it what you're made of.

What about you? Do you have any techniques for conquering, or at least dealing, with your fears?

16 comments:

Lola Sharp said...

I just consider fear another 4-letter F-word, and I spit (Ptew!) in the face of fear. I live fearlessly!

Okay, so that's a lie. I'm just as afraid of the red ink and rejection as the next girl/guy. But, I just do it anyway. I don't like to fly on planes either, but I love to travel to exotic places...so I suck it up (and take a valium).

Michelle McLean said...

ooo valium, valium is good :D

Christine Fonseca said...

Love this post Michelle...you know my answer to fear...BUG YOU!

lbdiamond said...

Yup, fear put me off of revisions for like three weeks. Yet the pressure to get it done remained. So, I sucked it up and did it. I must say I had a grand time playing around with my MS and I think better things are coming of it.

Great tip! ;)

Patti said...

I think I'll write "Just suck it up" and put it on my computer, so it will remind me to keep going on the days I don't want to.

Abby Stevens said...

Oh, emotional intensity... yes, I think that describes me pretty well. At the end of the day, ask Nike says, I just do it. It's the only way to keep going.

L.T. Elliot said...

Can I just say...THANK YOU! Because that's totally what I need to do with my fear. =D

Caledonia Lass said...

::Salutes:: Yes ma'am. XD
Fear does incapacitate most writers, myself included. But I do suck it up and just do it. Nothing more I can do sometimes. Great post. :D

Elana Johnson said...

I like this theory. I need to do more sucking and less whining. Wait. That didn't come out right... Ha ha ha!

Lydia Kang said...

I just try to be so busy I have no time for fear. Fear needs to take a number. Ha!

Palindrome said...

you're so right!

I read from Walking on Alligators whenever the fear is too strong and mention to the boyfriend...which usually results in a verbal spanking. (much less fun than an actual one ;P)

@Elana- LMAO!

Jenna Wallace said...

My technique...remind myself that I am more afraid of the regret that I didn't try, than I am about whatever is freaking me out this week. That usually gets me going.

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

Yes Ma'am! Excellent post since I'm one of those who have recently been talking of overcoming my fears. Sucking it up and and doing it. Thanks!

Jemi Fraser said...

Fear can be paralyzing. I tend to ignore it if at all humanly possible. I try to take one tiny step at a time & forget about the future stuff :)

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Hi,Michelle! I heard a poignant thought about this somewhere (I think it was a TED presentation given by the author Elizabeth Gilbert) that basically said, isn't it a shame to feel fear when doing the thing you were put here to do? That really changed my mind on my own fear. After all, there are so many other novels to be written, do we really want to struggle with fear through every single one? Thanks for a great post!

Heidi Sutherlin said...

Holy cow! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I've been in the avoidance fear stage for a week and a half. No, I really don't need to clean out under my bed rather than write. No, I really don't need to organize my recipes instead of writing. No, I really, really don't need to clean each and every DVD in the house rather than write. I need to "Just Suck It Up, and Do It!"

I'm going to make a gigantic poster and mount it on my wall above my desk. Thanks for the kick in the pants.