When Fear Holds You Back

Thursday, June 27, 2013
I’ll be honest here. I recently faced an event in my personal life that I let bother me way more than I should have. I let it threaten to derail everything I’ve been working toward in my writing career throughout the past few years. I’m normally not an anxious person, but this time around, I let all the “what ifs” that linger in the back of every writer’s mind take front and center. I experienced symptoms that manifested themselves both physically and emotionally. I let fear paralyze me. I watched the items on my work “to do” list remain unchecked and the progress on my fiction stalled. I wondered if I’d ever be able to pull myself out of the abyss.

I guess my point in all this is that when something like this happens to you, you have to eventually make a choice. Are you going to let it define you and diminish all you have accomplished or are you going to fight back?

For me, I fought back. I’ve always been a fighter, and this time really was no different. I had some good conversations with my husband, my friends and my family, and slowly, I found the courage to move forward. Luckily for me, I’ve been taking a children’s writing workshop, which gave me a deadline I needed to meet. Otherwise, there’s no telling how long I would have delayed getting back to my writing.

On the day I was supposed to work on my next chapter, I procrastinated. I straightened up the house, I read a little, I watched some mindless television. Finally, my husband took the kids out of the house so I could have some quiet time to write and I had no choice. I opened up iTunes and scanned all the songs, trying to find one that would give me strength. I landed on an old favorite by Alanis Morissette.

“But you, you’re not allowed, you’re uninvited. An unfortunate slight.”

The song spoke to me on a number of different levels. It fit well with the storyline of one of my characters and I also saw it as an anthem for anyone suffering from writer’s block. Whatever works, right? I opened up the file and faced my greatest fear. Would I find the words I needed to move the story forward? I began typing, and guess what? I finished a rough draft of the chapter within an hour, and channeling my feelings helped me take risks I never would have imagined myself taking before, with both dialogue and plot.

I refuse to give up. Writing is part of who I am and I deserve every bit of happiness it brings me. Next time, I need to remember that from the start.

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who blogs at Renee’s Pages.


Sioux Roslawski said...


Maybe next time you can listen to Christina Aguilera's (sp?) "Beautiful," the faster-paced "My Give a D#@$'s Busted" by Jo Dee Messina, or probably a variety by Pink.

Many times, the biggest obstacle we face is ourselves...

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Really good post. I often let things derail me from my goals and To-Dos, but I'm getting better at turning toward the writing and other creative work - not away from it - and using it as a way to work through those other things

Crystal Otto said...

Awesome post Renee - you are so talented and I love reading your posts. Thank you for refusing to give up!!

Unknown said...

It is so difficult when something happens that cuts into our heart and soul. Something like that can devastate our dreams, hopes and confidence so quickly. Cheering for you for finding inner strength and resolve to continue in your dreams. An inspiration for everyone, no matter our battles.

D.E. Malone said...

Sometimes emotional upheaval tries to get the best of me, too, but I manage to fight through it. And sometimes those angst moments in life can fuel even better writing! 'Uninvited' is an awesome song, BTW!

Renee Roberson said...

I never cease to be amazed by the wonderfully supportive community here at WOW! Thank you all so much for your kind words. I think as women sometimes we spend so much time taking care of others that we put our dreams on hold. It's very important to never do that. I'm lucky that I have a 10-year-old daughter asking me every day, "So when's your book going to get published?"
Sioux -- that Jo Dee Messina song is going to be today's theme song!

Anonymous said...

I love that song too. Thanks for the post--it reminds me that when I'm having a bad writing day, music always helps :)

Audrey said...

Thanks for this honest post. I am struggling myself with something personal, and it is definitely affecting my writing. I'm going to rise above. Thanks for the inspiration!

Dorit Sasson said...

when my mother passed away on April 30th, I didn't get much writing in. i needed to honor my grieving time. there are times in one's life when writing does (and has to) take a back door. I did spend some time during May journalling about her. Journalling is a big part of my life. That was very cathartic.

Dorit Sasson
Giving Voice to Your Story

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