Fear and Commitment
I want to ask you a few questions…
- How is your writing practice going?
- Are you writing?
- Are you reading these e-mails (sign up for 365 days of writing inspiration here or my blogs and wondering “when am I going to start?”
- If you’ve started, how does it feel?
As a story coach working in solo performance, memoir, brand story and transformational monologues, it is my business to help people break through obstacles and do whatever it takes to get their big projects finished.
People arrive at my proverbial door-step in all kinds of creative states. Some have been writing and/or performing for years. Some have been dreaming about writing, but rarely actually sit down and do it. Some are somewhere in the middle, with erratic practices.
You know what? In the end, it doesn’t matter where you are on the path. It only matters that you have committed to your creative path.
It’s all about commitment to your creative self
There is a certain attitude that takes us the distance, one that acknowledges the various aspects of ourselves.
There is the part of us that lives in fantasy and nurses the expectation that we’ll have our memoir completely outlined, written and sold in three months.
There is the part of us that simply wants to hibernate, drink hot chocolate and binge on movies rather than risk showing up to the blank page and not knowing what to say.
Then, there is the part of us, in the middle, knowing that we have to show up for the hard work, but feeling afraid. The fear can be of failure, success, being more visible to in the world, or having to say no to other’s expectations. Our reasons to fear form a long list that can go on and on and on, infinitely. Fear will always have a reason to stop you from doing what you really want to do.
Ultimately, the most important devotion we must have, in order to make progress toward completing our great work in ourselves and in the world, is to learning; learning to manage this fear.
We can acknowledge fear in our writing and in our quiet reflective moments. We can go to therapy, and learn fear’s origins, but that will still not be enough. On a day-to-day basis, when fear arises and attempts to stop us from taking time to write, putting our attention on things that we love or taking an emotional or creative risk in our lives, it is fear that needs to be addressed.
I am not the kind of creativity coach who says that you HAVE to write everyday. Some people journal or write morning pages every day and never move beyond them. For some, that is enough. However, it is not necessarily enough to complete a larger project.
There are no hard-and-fast rules. Everything that I am offering here is a suggestion. Try what resonates with you. And try something that you feel resistance to. See what happens just by showing up to yourself and the page.
As I’ve said before, having a regular writing, storytelling, and/or movement-based creative practice is the key to unlocking your core stories, voice, and point of view. And, you do not have to do it every day. If you are able to, that’s great. And if not, what I would like to ask is that you show up for whatever commitment you’ve made to yourself.
If you have written three afternoons per week from 1:00-2:00 into your calendar for your creative work, fantastic! Now, show up!
If you have written in thirty minutes every morning, from 6:00-6:30 a.m. to work on one exercise per day from these e-mails, fantastic! Now show up!
Getting back to the topic of fear; I remember one of my spiritual teachers said to me decades ago “It is not just your angels that want to be set free, but your demons as well.”
Sometimes fear is an angel. Sometime she is a demon. Sometimes fear is the hurt child inside. Sometimes it just wants to protect you.
But no matter how you view it, in any given moment, it must be addressed on a daily basis. Like the old timers in AA often say about addiction, “it’s cunning, baffling and powerful”. We have been trained in this culture to be addicted to our fearful thoughts.
Fear will show its face in many forms. But here’s the paradox. Fear believes that she wants to hold you back for your own good. But, when you are writing, creating, inspired and inspiring, she can finally relax. Whether fear shows up as your angel or your demon or both, she too is set free.
Without facing the fear and, as the saying goes, doing it anyway – writing or telling it anyway – our life energy dries up a bit every day. It is only by walking with her, loving her, feeling her pain, listening to her cry – in other words, acknowledging her – that can we ever break free from her demands and suppression. When we give her some space in our lives, yet do not let her stop us from doing what we need to do, we are able to embrace our full lives. This is a life lived ungoverned by fear. An authentic life dictated by your own soul.
Assignment For the Day
When have you been most in touch with your own soul? Write or tell a story aloud, moment by moment, with as many details as possible of what that time in your life or event felt like. Slow your writing or telling way down. Add as many sensory experiences (smell, sound, sight, taste) as possible.
The movement of the soul is slow. The movement of the ego is fast.
Do you agree or disagree with this statement. Why? If you feel inspired, take the plunge into persuasive writing on this. Make a case for the truth or untruth of the statement.
Can you speak aloud as FEAR HERSELF? Become her. Give her a voice, have Fear stomp around the room. Have her go off on a rant, or write a rant for five minutes. Just let her have at it. What does she want you to hear?
Great…Now, thank her and go create something new (a cake, a poem, new copy for your website, the outline of your memoir)!