“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
“What good does it do to be afraid? It doesn’t help anything.”
I know, I know! Chuck is a wild and crazy guy. At 90, he’s still fishing, hunting, and flying. He broke the sound barrier in 1947 and he was elevated to an American icon after Tom Wolfe wrote The Right Stuff and Sam Shepard starred in a movie of the same name. He probably doesn’t have a fearful bone in his body — or if he did, he broke it a long time ago and tossed out of a plane.
So what does he have to teach us about handling fear? Plenty! And how can it help us get to the next level in our writing? Well, read on.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when it comes to my writing, half the time I’m fearless and the other half, I’m fearful. Go figure. I’m fearless when I get into the zone and just write my heart out. But I’m fearful when self-doubt starts pecking at my pages. A few fears on my hit parade: Does this writing sparkle? Will I ever find an agent and a publisher? Will anyone every read my MG novel that I’ve poured endless amounts of time into? Would I have been better off writing about werewolves or vampires? You get the picture.
Back to Chuck. What’s his antidote to fear? Action! When faced with a tough, fear-inducing situation, Chuck advises, “You better try and figure out what’s happening and correct it.” He’s also big on duty: doing the job you’re called on to do without whining or hoopla — and doing it to the max.
So what can we learn from Chuck? Fear doesn’t help — it just gets in the way. So instead of dwelling on it, let’s take action. Let’s focus on our duty: doing the job we’ve been called on to do, which is to write our hearts out, to pour ourselves onto the page. We don’t need just the right stuff, we need the write stuff! That’s our mission: not breaking the sound barrier, but breaking the fear barrier. Let’s stay committed to our commitment to getting to the next level. Write on!