When You’re Afraid to Release It Into the World

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“The writer’s job is to abandon their work. To allow others to make judgment of its worth. And to go on to the next story…”  

– William Stafford

 

Did you write from your pain last week? How have you been at facing your fears through writing? 

 

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If you’ve attempted it, you know it requires discipline and patience, and extra grace with yourself as you fight to avoid the discomfort. Keep setting short, achievable goals, and reward yourself! Don’t quit!

 

This week it dawned on me that facing fears through writing also prepares us for the fears experienced after having written. Sending our personal, heart-baring work out into the world, it may bring up all sorts of preexistent pain. Those horrors from the past tend to come back to remind you of all the reasons you shouldn’t have tried, shouldn’t have thought you could do this.

 

I don’t know why this isn’t talked about more, the self-doubt that strikes just as you’re about to share the real you through your work. It isn’t you. It’s the life of the writer.

 

And the pain is what always draws you back, out of the present and into the unknowable future which we always tend to assume must contain at least as much pain as the past.

 

But we can’t know that. And instead of releasing our work and releasing ourselves from the fear, we allow that pain to condemn and imprison us. We believe we have no control over it. And we won’t until we receive it, relax into it and let it come.

 

image3The angels, Jesus and God himself always tell us not to fear, as if we can help it.

 

When fear tries to control us, we can fight to control fear. 

 

When we worry our work won’t be embraced, understood, appreciated, we have to fight back. When we’ve done the work and done our best, it’s not our job to judge or worry. Our part is to let it go. Then and only then can we know what the work really was — a chance to know true freedom.

 

One higher purpose of writing is getting free of fear and worry. 

I’ve got a distressing habit of doubting the value and necessity of my work. It’s held me back for years. I know the only way it’ll change is when I realize the imagined pain of others not accepting my work isn’t as bad as the real pain of stifling my talent.

image2“All of us have habits of thought…they include formulas of disbelief in our own gifts. If we cannot let go of the familiar old habits, we will not grow as artists. To grow as a writer, we must open our hearts, grow in our capacity to learn, to deepen our courage…even those truths that are painful will ultimately increase my wisdom, undergird my strength, make possible my art.” – Pat Schneider, Writing Alone

I know this to be true from my own life. The greatest pains have taught me the most. Why would I fear pain? Maybe the fear comes in not knowing how to deal with it or find release. But also, like many kids, I wasn’t encouraged to express my feelings, get comfort and and deal with them. So it’s been hard to find relief and resolve. 

Has anyone been given everything they needed to recover from life?

We carry our wounds and we’d rather not add to them.

Yet if we can fight through fear and allow ourselves to experience pain, knowing it can lead to deeper understanding, we can grow and gain wisdom, character and more of what we truly desire. We can find out what we’re really made of and learn to rely on God and others. We can meet even more difficult tests and know we have what it takes. And we may even stop fearing vulnerable sharing completely.

Can you imagine if that became true for you? 

image1What if you didn’t hold back today and all this week? By the end of it, you’ll be able to say to yourself:

You did it. You demanded the work speak as clearly and honestly as possible. And you let it go. I’m so incredibly proud of you. Will you ever know what this truly means? You’ve lived your commitment, even in the face of powerful doubt and certain destruction. Honor that investment and don’t dismiss the achievement of that. You’re becoming a writer who’s unafraid. And how many people need what you now know? Now you get to marvel at how God uses even his weak and broken ones to be his messengers of love, and to bring life where pain and death had threatened….

Give your all and face the fear as you prepare to share your truth this week. It’s more vital and life-giving than you can even comprehend.

It’s all for the higher purpose,

Mick

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11 thoughts on “When You’re Afraid to Release It Into the World”

  1. I grew up in a family of mystics, poets, and proofreaders. I’ve always known I can write.

    I submitted my first book to my perfect publisher, fearless but hopeful. It was accepted. You can imagine my excitement, and how I spread the good news. Then while I waited for the contract, I had an opportunity to meet one of their marketers at a convention, and discuss best illustrations. He’d heard my book was in. Over the moon I was and began adding to my web presence.

    Suddenly, it was rejected. No reason. How does one prepare for that?

    Then a year later, I received a second rejection notice for the same book, although I had not resubmitted it. I was beyond unprepared for being waylaid like that.

    Research revealed that the house was reorganizing during the very time my editor was assuring me they were excited about the book. They now have two offices. So glad for them.

    So, my questions are:
    1. Would having an agent have helped? (This house welcomed unagented submissions.)
    2. Should I resubmit? I’m sort of tired of being fearful. They are still the only publisher I really want.
    3. How to overcome this paralysis? (Or is every single fear, for writers, all considered the same, as if our fears just don’t matter? You’re either sending or you’re not?)

    Thanks.

    1. Hmm. Complex question. Not sure I can adequately answer it here. I’m happy to offer a consult call if you like.

  2. I needed this today, Mick! Thank you for your encouragement to become a fearless writer, confident in the calling I pursue. It may take a lot of effort to get there, but you’ve cast a vision about where I want to be as a writer. Criticism and rejection either serve to push us away from the calling, or they encourage us to hone our skills. I want it to be the latter for me.

    1. So glad you can use it! And thanks for modeling the commitment needed, my friend. I’m inspired by you! -M

  3. “the imagined pain of others not accepting my work isn’t as bad as the real pain of stifling my talent.”
    Pondering this today, sir. Your Monday Motivations stay in my Inbox for a while…. but I’m always so glad when I read them!

  4. true dat, if it was not available to overcome fear, god would not have said “FEAR NOT” because that would’ve been mean and omg, our god is one thing and one things only. he is LOVE :-) so i am grateful to you for reminding me . . . can’t get enough of that sugar-grace.
    love
    suzee B

    1. Totally! It also makes sense that there’s only one thing to fear: God himself. And if we have no need to fear him, then we must be fine. ;) Love you, M

  5. now, i would add that it’s the fear of consequences (if fear is to enter the picture) not of abba. this is possibly one of them there semantics thingies. XO

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