Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fear vs. Courage

The wise and wonderful Sara Zarr did a blog post yesterday on fear, titled THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE. You should read it. Really!

I've been thinking about this in particular: "Every day when I wake up, the battle seems to be: Will I go forward in courage, or be crippled by fear? In life, in writing."

My thing is that, when it comes to writing, I'm often afraid I'm not good enough. That I have no business writing when there are so many amazing writers out there. Talk about a fear that will cripple you.

Yesterday, on twitter, my agent pointed to THIS BLOG POST by agent Jenny Bent on confidence. You should read that one too. Really!

She says at the end: "Believe in yourself and your talent and your strength of will."

It's easier said than done, right? Because there's that fear, always looming - what if I'm not good enough? 

So, how do you believe? How do you go forward in courage and set the fear aside?

While we ponder this question, here are some cute kittens for your viewing pleasure.


Okay, back to the question. How do you go forward in courage and set the fear aside?

I don't know how YOU do it, but I think for me, it's just this:

You don't let the fear win. Sara said, it's a battle. And it is!! But it's one where WE choose the winner. We can let the fear win and go do something else, or we can let courage win, and sit down at the computer and write. We can believe that we have a story worth telling and try to tell it to the best of our ability. And we have to know that with each word we write, we get better. As I've said before, there is no way out but through. I also remind myself, almost on a daily basis, I don't have to be as good as everyone else. I only have to be the best Lisa Schroeder I can be. And I write the story first and foremost, for me. Because I want to know what happens. That's how I get that first draft down. 

Kate Messner did a post on fear recently, and there are some interesting thoughts in the comments. You should read it too!!

Someone recommended this book, ART AND FEAR, by David Bayles and Ted Orland. I'm going to check it out:

And a funny thing? As I was pondering all of this, I realized that all of my YA novels have a variation of this theme - fear vs. courage - at the heart of them. Wow.


  1. Thanks for the reminder! I'm a week and a half away from my first conference and pitch with an agent, and I am tryong not to let fear ruin this for me.

    Never give up! Never surrender!

  2. fear v. courage = life.

    I can't remember a time when I've been writing and I haven't been one or the other (or sometimes both).

    Great post, Lisa.

  3. GREAT post Lisa. OMG-I am bookmarking this so I can reread it every time I'm doubting my abilities (which is...every day). And I love what you said about trying to be the best Lisa Schroeder you can be. That's kinda my philosophy. I don't see this as a competition with anyone other than myself. Can I do better than what *I* did? Can I grow? Can I improve? That's all I try to let matter. It's not always easy, but it's a much healthier attitude. :)

  4. Thanks for these great links Lisa!

    You should definitely check out ART & FEAR. It's one of my favorites.