It’s Okay to Be Afraid – Accept the Challenge Anyway!

I’m amazed at how many times I hear people not only say they are afraid to try new things, but they actually avoid trying new things. I knew someone who wouldn’t eat any food he’d never eaten before.

We’re all born with a blank slate. Every thing has a first time (including what we like to eat). Why weren’t we afraid from the very start? Because we didn’t know any better.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Each writer has different strengths and interests and we come about them in various ways. We had to learn how to:

  • write
  • spell
  • read
  • craft sentences/paragraphs/stories
  • come up with ideas
  • outline
  • research
  • use a card catalog (dewey decimal) at the library
  • do online Internet searches
  • understand grammar
  • learn writing rules
  • and so on

We didn’t one day wake up as writers or have a writing business. Everything is always brand new to us — at first.

Deciding to be a writer is scary in itself, isn’t it? Pursuing writing as a career has it’s own anxiety, too. As time goes on, we develop a skill set and some of us find a niche (or two) that we enjoy. One constant in whatever type of writing we’re pursuing, is that we always need to be looking for new work.

And doesn’t that thought just scare some of us until we break out in a sweat?

Where does the fear come from? Why do we get afraid of a writing project that’s a bit over our heads?

I’ve been there many times, and expect to be there many more. Being a little afraid is how I know I’m continuing to learn, improve, and build upon my current writing skills.

If you have the basic writing skills for a project, you shouldn’t be afraid to use them as a foundation for new work. And if there’s a certain type of writing you are passionate about pursuing, look into formal training through a class or workshop to help you get started.

We all start with a clean/blank slate. It’s up to us, individually, to fill the slate with the skills and experiences we want. Being nervous is a good thing – it means we’re aware and open to possibilities. It means we desire to push ourselves further.

If you don’t feel a little scared, you aren’t stretching yourself.

It’s okay to be afraid of a new writing project or opportunity.

I encourage you to embrace the fear and try the project anyway! I bet more often than not you’ll be happy that you did.

Have you had projects you were you initially nervous about, accepted them anyway, and were positively blown away by the results? 

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

53 thoughts on “It’s Okay to Be Afraid – Accept the Challenge Anyway!

  1. I have recently tackled one of mine…. and that is with my blog!! I LOVE to write….but to write and actually expose my writing to the public…well, that’s a little scary. But I’ve stuck with it for about 8 weeks now fairly consistently!

  2. Funny this should show up, today. I finally took the plunge and self-published (waiting for Amazon to approve). I’ve written long books but love novellas and decided to give it a try. I’m terrified it will flop. I’m giving it a try anyway. I found this quote a while ago and grabbed hold: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

  3. I always love to try new things….I completely understand what you mean. Trying new things is a great oppottunity to taste something new, learn something or try something you’ve never done before. I WASN’T BORN A WRITER…I had to learn.

  4. Lisa, It’s hard to be brave. Writing has been one thing. Posting articles on my blog has been so hard. But I learned the secret. It got a lot easier when I realized no one cared (lol). Silent

  5. I’m afraid every time I start something new. Then I get excited about it, and then scared again. There’s so many doubts when you’re creating something, it’s easy to let procrastination take over when the fear sets in. But when I actually finish something I feel so accomplished and surprised in myself.

    • That seems to be the way the flow goes, Kbeck, scared to start, then we start, excitement, scared again, and so on. And not just with writing. Procrastination is definitely a great avoidance tool – it comes into my life a wee bit too often at times. Remember to celebrate the accomplishments! Savor that feeling a few extra minutes each time and you’ll start seeing procrastination shrink. 🙂

  6. Yes I accepted to write for an online magazine but stopped. I would have to write on topics they gave me and their guidelines. I was about to lose my lifestyle writing and not be able to express myself the way I can on Word Press.

  7. Thank you for the inspiration. I’ve been procrastinating my new project out of fear of failure. But, it’s time to take the bull by the horns. 🙂 Oh! Do you mind if I reblog this?

  8. This is so true! I’ve had many firsts this year and they have all come with anxiety! But I am so glad that I followed through because I was blown away by the results and they have all been positive!

  9. I started writing a novel and I found myself embarrassed to tell people about it in case they would judge me, my topic, etc. But once I started to own my new identity as a writer I found it helped me a lot to tell people about what I was doing to get a handle on it myself.

  10. Just like what Einstein said: ‘It is better to make a mistake than to do nothing.’ However, you should not make the same mistakes again so you can achieve your goal. Am I right? Sometimes, you find hard to think of ideas in writing because you didn’t notice that you are making the same mistakes. If you feel tired and can’t think anything to write, why not take time to rest and give yourself a prize for motivation.

  11. Well, I believe this is my first public confession about being afraid to write professionally. It’s not just a career for me but ministry. Writing has been the most fulfilling career ever for me. In the beginning, I was afraid to do it, months had passed by and anxiety was high.

    I felt like an ant among seasoned giants. However, I closed my eyes and took a leap of faith and haven’t turned back.

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