In May 2013, my husband and I spent 2.5 weeks touring the national parks of Utah. In the picture above, I had reluctantly agreed to pose on that ledge, called "Island in the Sky", to provide a reference scale against the landscape. As I perched there, trying not to think about how secure the sandstone was underneath, someone passed by and said to his companion,
"I can't believe it. That's so dangerous. People fall off there every year. Don't they know it's a mile down?"
The next five seconds, I felt like I was already falling. I scrabbled back as soon as I heard the sound of Kyle's shutter button.
That feeling of pure, unfiltered terror—the idea of falling for an entire mile—still echoes faintly in my psyche, every day since I made the decision to quit my job and become a full-time freelance writer.
Why do we give fear so much power over our lives?
I like being in control of my schedule. I like knowing what's coming around the corner of my life. I have less contact with these two comforting realities, of late. And so...
Fear finds me every day. It's the persistent shadow that no amount of light or positive thinking will dispel.
Is self-doubt a synonym of fear? In my case, it is.
I can't help but wonder how we manage to let the most unproductive of emotions wreak havoc with our confidence, our decisions, and our creativity.
I've never run a marathon, but I wonder if part of that journey feels something like this. When you realize you're a long way from the finish line and you're afraid you won't make it there, it takes courage to keep going.
My beta readers are sending in their reviews. I'm getting great feedback: some characters and plot lines are well-developed—others need more work. Some villains got off too easily—every reviewer was outraged about that. Alright, we'll make sure their tongues are cut out in the next draft. Actually. Maybe. It is a medieval story, after all. Arcane times require arcane punishments. All in all, I'm encouraged by the feedback I've received so far. I'm looking forward to putting on my editing hat.
Newest fear: Can I actually raise this story to publishing quality?
That's an old fear—the one that doesn't seem to give a damn about me beating it away only yesterday. And the day before that.
This fear is a mile long, and I'm still falling.
At least I'm moving.
Conclusion: You don't have to be free of fear, to keep going.
So get going.