Every time I get on a horse, I’m afraid.

Every time I hit ‘send’ on an email, I’m afraid.

Every time I walk into a room of people, I’m afraid.

I’m not afraid of injury on a horse, been there, done that.

I’m not afraid that I’ve said something wrong when I send the email, I almost always do.

I’m not afraid that people will think I’m strange, they usually do.

Fear has been a huge part of my life, for as long as I can remember. The form of religion I was raised to hardly celebrated confidence, personal strength or pride. On the contrary, I can’t help but compare my old self to the mice from ‘Despereaux’.

I had to be self-sufficient, but not self-confident. That’s not a real good balance. In fact, it tends to leave on feeling like there’s about half an earth under their feet. It leads to false fear…and false confidence.

I know that I’m good with horses. I know I’ve got the reflexes, the understanding, the strength to handle even the most difficult, demanding horse. Yeah, I might get beat up or kicked or be sore for a few days. But I will come out on top.

Why? Because there’s a point where fear gives way to instinct. When you don’t have time to think about it or be afraid, your reaction tells more about you than a dozen years of thought. Fight or flight.

Problem is, I can’t just react when I’m writing. I have to think. And damn is it hard.

It’s worse with a novel, not so hard with a short story. It takes months–at the least!–to write a novel. Months of thinking about how much of a failure this could be. Months of imagining how badly it could be received by test readers. Months of imagining months of work going to waste.

It’s tough. Really, really tough for someone like me. It’s almost paralyzing sometimes.

But isn’t that the foundation of success? Believing in yourself?

At least I know I don’t have to worry about my challenges for the next few, oh, decades. I’ll be over here working on getting over that fear issue.


3 Responses to “Confidence”

  1. david1963 Says:

    Fear and Failure are lies to the core. Look deep inside and you will see God at the door. Come in Come in it’s great to see you, I have been waiting here to make all your dreams true. The world had you hypnotized by is glamour and flare, and now you are understanding that it has never been there. The ego lies and tells you it’s true that I want to hurt, kill and later burn you. My children who hear my voice know this is not so, how can I create a love and then just let it go? Why would I, love create, in order to just annihilate? Think on you own without being told and you to will see this Great Lie of old. Fear is control and lies are the means, so go deep within and plan your dreams. When you understand that FEAR is a lie you can see the culprit and remove his disguise. Brothers and Sisters listen and hear, I too am a son of God and He is right here. Live this life and live your dreams without the fear to Fail! And you too will see that our God is a God of love and Not the god of Hell!

    david winter

  2. I think you should take up skiing. Death haunts you at every turn. If you can master skiing, you can master anything.
    Actually swimming is similar, and a little more accessible.
    Every writer worries about this stuff. Here’s the thing. Once you start seeking feedback, you’ll receive tons of criticism, unless your readers are fawning sycophants who crave your approval and only compliment you. People *will* pick your stuff apart. You need to learn to embrace that, to actually seek out negative feedback, because it’s the only way you’re going to learn and improve.
    This is why I get off the chairlift to face an icy double-black diamond run…to challenge myself and see if I can do it. Just like your horse, I’m probably going to fall and hurt myself.
    But one day I’m going to friggin nail that thing.
    So you’re absolutely right to worry about it, because someone out there is going to rip your work apart. It’s up to you to decide whether to be all hurt or to use it as a positive experience. Go ahead and worry your ass off, but know that each time you fall, you’re going to get up a little stronger.
    It’s not about how many times I fall during a run, it’s how many times I get back on the chairlift to do it again.

    • Jaym Gates Says:

      Horses ARE very similar to skiing in that regard. It’s an old saying “You ain’t rode if you ain’t fallen off”. I’ve had some spectacular crashes and injuries. A horse falling on me and nearly crushing my leg, being trampled, a permanent shoulder injury, the list keeps on.

      I know bad feedback is going to come. I’m up for it…I think.

      *thumbs up* You’ve got some words of wisdom there friend. Thank you.

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