Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
I am not afraid to admit that I’m scared of a lot of things, one of which is failure. I am afraid to fail. Sometimes, I am even afraid to try new things, for fear of looking stupid. After I posted yesterday, committing to do NaNoWriMo, I was instantly assaulted with fear. What if I don’t finish, and I look stupid in front of everyone?
For me, there have been quite a few things to be scared of in regard to writing fiction. When I first started writing, I was scared what I wrote would be crap. When I started submitting to agents, I was scared I would get rejected. When I entered the New Voices contest, I was scared that someone would trash my work. Now I’m scared that I’ll fail at NaNoWriMo.
Here’s the thing: I’ve done all these things, despite being scared, and you know what? In a lot of cases, the worst thing that could happen, did. I did get rejected by agents. Someone DID give me a scathing review in New Voices, and when I started writing, my writing WAS crappy. But I did it. Sometimes I got hurt, but I also learned things every single time. My writing is better, and I’m a stronger person. Those are some pretty good reasons to be courageous.
At the end of the day, if you give into your fear, you’re still a failure, even if you are the only one who knows it. And on top of that, you’ll probably have regrets you’ll have to live with for the rest of your life. You might as well do what you’re afraid of. When you’re one hundred years old, you’re not going to look back and say, “Gee, I wish I hadn’t entered that contest and gotten bad-mouthed.” But you are likely to look back and say,” Gosh, I wish I hadn’t been afraid to be a writer.”