I am sitting here with a little nervous twinge in my belly. You know the feeling that I’m talking about. It’s that fluttery feeling that if kept under control serves as a warning, but when unleashed, can send you to a corner cowering in fear. I am not the type of person that generally lives in fear, but as I sit here tonight, there is that little twinge in my belly. I am attending a writing conference this weekend and have signed up to have one of my stories professionally critiqued. I have attended one other writers’ conference, but that was just a test drive. I was just a spectator checking out what happened at these things. This time, I am a fully exposed participant. And I am a little nervous.
This fear, though, is a good thing. This twinge is well under control. In fact, it is keeping me alert, excited and on my toes. Has anxiety ever served to push you to a better place, a higher peak? It has a powerful way of doing that. When the fear response was not sending our Neanderthal ancestors running into the cave from the snarling saber-toothed tiger, it was pushing them to prepare and fight. I am not looking for a fight this weekend, but I am looking to push myself and confront my shortcomings. Because, that is one way that fear serves us today, isn’t it? It signals to our brains that we are about to confront something that is going to unveil our limitations and weaknesses. We can remain paralyzed, frozen in place and miss an opportunity, or we can take control. At this point in my writing journey, I certainly have a lot to learn. So, of course, a critique of my writing is certain to reveal a lot of my creative shortcomings.
Here is the best part; at the other side of this tunnel is growth. As a writer, I can only mature and improve from this. When we realize that we have a lifetime of learning to do, it can change our whole perspective. We can embrace our fear as a surmountable challenge and welcome our own evolution.
I have no doubt that I will be anxious as I hear the truth about my creative efforts. There may even be some sweating and cringing involved. However, I will learn how to become a better writer and in the process, acquiesce to this life long process of shaping my character.
So, how has fear pushed you to be better in your life?