On fear, and how writing is like a guitar

Fear is funny. Not funny, really. Maddening, frustrating, debilitating.

Ortega acoustic electric mini bassAfter a busy month or so, I hadn’t had time to practice my bass guitar at all. I wanted to. I missed it. So I took it out of the case and sat it next to my chair so it would be easy to grab whenever I had a few free minutes. And from there it mocked me. I was afraid to pick it up. Afraid I’d forgotten everything. Afraid I would suck.

Writing is like that, too. I think the writers who advise others to “write every day” do so for this reason most of all. The longer we go without doing something the more room there is for doubt and excuses, so we go even longer without doing it. It’s a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break out of.

Sometimes, the missing doing the thing becomes greater than the fear and overcomes it. Other times, we force ourselves past the fear. We have been here before and can see it for what it is.

I finally picked up the guitar today. I can still play. In fact, I think I played better today than I have in months. It felt joyous, both the ability to make music and the letting go of the fear.

Soon, my schedule will allow me to get back to writing again, too. And I am not afraid. In fact, I’m looking forward to it.

What goals are you avoiding because of fear? Perhaps it’s time to begin.

Begin

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