Visiting England engendered many feelings, but the uppermost was fear: Fear of the roads. Two years of driving on the wrong side of the road in an automatic does not prepare one for driving faster on the left in a stick shift.
The wonderful surprise was the ease with which it all came back. Yes, I stalled trying to get out of the car park, but I didn’t panic driving down tiny winding country lanes, twenty miles an hour faster than I’d drive through downtown Vancouver.The gear changing happened without conscious thought, the car pulling itself into the correct lane coming off the roundabout.
Sometimes it’s good to take on a challenge, to throw out everything you know and are comfortable with. I’m a playwright, but some of the stories that turn up in my head don’t want to be plays. Writing a short story, or a fragment (like “Smoke“) or a screenplay can be freeing. It can also be terrifying, but each challenge presents new opportunities to learn.
Being a writer is all about overcoming fear. Fear of ridicule for saying “I am a writer” is probably the most common. Fear of rejection goes without saying. Fear of criticism, of derision, of lawsuits, of pity….all these are part of the baggage of a writer.
But perhaps the one fear we should cherish is the fear of NOT writing. Sometimes I imagine reaching my twilight years and regretting all the stories I had in my head that I never set down. Imagine the sadness of saying “I always wanted to be a writer but….” It doesn’t matter what follows that last word, the tragedy is in the life not lead.
What fears have you overcome to get where you are? What fears do you have to battle daily? Are there things that have scared you so much you HAVEN’T overcome them? I had to face my fears of humiliation and criticism to write an e-book on writing plays for Community Theatre, even though I’d been writing plays for Community Theatre for ten years. If you like, you could download it from www.tlc-creative.co.uk and tell me if it was worth the effort.