Fear of flying – writer style

Today’s guest post comes from Laura Foster-Bobroff, a talented writer and generous soul who has – happily! – been visiting Live to Write – Write to Live for a while. She’s become a personal friend of mine, and we just discovered that we share a passion for “flying” – trapeze style. We had a conversation one day about the similarities between writing and flying and I suggested she write a post for the blog. I’m so pleased that she did and hope that you enjoy it. Please make her feel welcome. 

I decided to become a writer two months before my fiftieth birthday.

After forty years of “informal” practice, it was high time I committed to making my dream come true. At first, my husband thought I was a little crazy. We were closing our remodeling business and, like many Americans, struggling financially with a mortgage under water and not enough income to sustain it.  I realized waiting for the perfect time to start writing was an excuse.  Do it, I told myself, it’s now or never.

Making the decision to be a writer was the equivalent of performing on a flying trapeze. A few years ago, my daughters begged me to buy lessons for them, and promptly backed out after standing on a platform thirty feet above ground. Substitute daredevil, up the ladder I climbed, rung by rung, determined to fly with gusto. “I’m not afraid,” I told my girls, trying to set an example. “Being off the ground on a tiny platform doesn’t scare me!” Halfway up, I looked down, hesitated, and then said to myself, “You can do this. You’re tough!”

I may be tough, but once I stepped onto the platform my breathing stopped and my heart started to beat abnormally fast. Confidence wavering, I began talking myself off the platform, “This is an impulsive whim – why are you doing this? You’re too old for this kind of risk. You’re not a professional and don’t have the skills. ‘’You could fall and get hurt.” (Sound familiar?)

On the edge, faced with failure, time stands still.  Fear and tension build. 

I so badly wanted to turn around and go down the ladder! Then I heard a click as I was tethered to the safety line and it occurred to me I had support: someone who had been where I was – felt fear and doubt – and managed to get through it, someone who learned to fly and was willing to help so I could share the experience.

Climbing the ladder, creating a platform we can step onto poses the greatest challenge for some writers; for others, leaving the platform behind to fly solo is daunting.  We can find support by reading blogs, inspirational stories, or sharing work with other writers or editors. By connecting with people who offer encouragement and reassurance we have a safety line. Most writers and editors are generous. They give tips on flying; instruct us on what works best. We only have to grab the bar and commit to making the jump no matter how scared we are. Above all, we need to remember there is a net to catch us if we fall. (And, we WILL fall!)

Someday I hope to be a writer as entertaining as a great trapeze artist gracefully performing daring tricks to the amazement of the world. For now, I’m holding onto the bar for dear life. Yet, despite my awkwardness, I feel exhilarated by the thrill of learning to fly. Heck, I’m even starting to accept falling because each day I stand hovering on the edge of my platform – unsure and exposed but jumping anyway – it reminds me I’m living the life of a writer.

Where do you find resources to motivate you to climb onto the platform?

What inspires you grab ahold of the bar and FLY?

Who reminds you that you have a safety net?

Laura Foster-Bobroff has been an assistant to a criminal defense attorney, a part-time editor, a special education advocate, and the proud owner of a green remodeling business.   She has two black belts, a pre-med science degree, and three children, including a challenged child. At age fifty, she made the momentous decision to do what she always wanted to do – write!  She now produces fiction and non-fiction work and rests by dabbling in the art of fused and frit glass and other artistic mediums. She thinks getting older is fantastic (even if she doesn’t have as much energy as she used to).