A comment from Karl Gehrhardt from the Day 4 ZDT post:
If you must begin, then go all the way… I am at that point in my life with writing, gratefully. Life IS risky business, but what am I risking really? Complacency? Moments of procrastination… A false sense of comfort under my security blanket? What do I truly have to lose but time. And all those words never to be written. So much more to gain when you risk it all, including fear. Feeling philosophical. Better get goin’ while the creative juju is flowin’.
Nice, Karl. In thinking about it, sometimes fear can help spur creative thinking, even creative life decisions. You mention the specter of our eventual deaths. There’s something about that which incites us to get off our asses (actually ON our asses) and write.
I recall my last year at Yale, my 7th consecutive year of academic training. Driving up to campus and having this palpable feeling in my gut as I walked into the school from the parking lot. Something like dread. That was accompanied by a recurring image in my mind: An older version of me seated at beautiful desk, a single banker’s type lamp (I like the dark) in my study which is filled with bookcases, floor to ceiling. I am reclined in my chair, caught up in thought. And there in the corner is my guitar case, collecting dust.
As I processed that with my friends and faculty, I came to realize that I was afraid if I did not pursue my interest in music, I would live to regret it.
It was that FEAR which led me to take a year off from my plan to get a Ph.D. and become a university professor in order to explore my creative aspirations.
That year has become the rest of my life.
So fear of writing, understandable, but a negative influence. However fear of NOT writing and what that prospect could mean to us, that can be a positive.
Instead of getting caught up in Negative Fear of writing — What if these pages suck? What if I embarrass myself? What if I discover I don’t have any talent? What if this is all a big waste of time? — why not invert the questions.
What will I have lost if I don’t pursue my creativity?
How much despair would I feel if I never risked being a writer?
What if I don’t take this chance?
Interesting how those type of ‘negative’ questions can transform into Positive Fear. How positive? In that they can compel us to write! Where the fear of not writing becomes greater than the fear of writing.
I had never really thought about it in those terms until the dialogue with Karl.
What do you think? Helpful or not?