The Brighter Side of Fear

A couple of days ago I blogged about The Fear Place, which can be an extremely uncomfortable spot while we're creating. But the more I think I about it, the more I believe that there's a time and place to slip inside its barbed-wire borders.

Without fear, we might stop stretching our hands toward perfection. Without fear, we can let the happy babble of outside praise deafen us to the false notes in our current work-in-progress. Our egos can swell so tight inside us that valid doubts are crowded out. Too often, I've seen authors near the top of their game begin to get a little sloppy. "Uneditable," a friend of mine calls those who wield such power that their words can't be questioned. And the work suffers for it in the long run.

I don't want to go to that place, so maybe I'll adopt this as my new mantra: Write fearlessly, but edit ruthlessly. Only don't try doing both at the same time.


Linda Barrett said…
I love your mantra, Colleen: write fearlessly, edit ruthlessly. Pithy and excellent advice. I'm filled with fear regarding this writing career, even after 11 books. It never gets better. Fear of no more contracts, fear of making a fool of myself, fear of getting lazy - my the list can go on.

Early on, I thought that if only I were a visual artist, I could simply hang a painting in my own home and stave off public opinion. My family, of course, would think I was wonderful :) My friend, Margo, is an artist. So what did she do? After filling her own walls, she competed for showing at a bank, and actually sold two paintings. So, what is it with we, creative types? I guess our need to share overrules our fears.

Thanks, Colleen. Great posts.
Linda Barrett
Christie Craig said…
Great post Colleen!

While I don't like fear, sometimes we must admit it is fear that sometimes gives us our edge. The desire to work a little harder, the desire to look at our work one more time before sending it out.

I think too much can prevent us from moving forward, not enough fear, or too much ego, can prevent us from putting our best foot forward.

Thanks for the post.


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