Monday, 29 September 2014

One Thing Every Day

Do one thing every day that scares you.
Attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt but said by Mary Schmich, whose speech
features in Baz Luhrmann's video Wear Sunscreen.
 Quote Investigator explains it all


Parkour on the Promenade of Brighton Beach
I don't think its about jumping out of a plane or going swimming with sharks, both of which I have no interest in and not because of the fear, but because I have no interest in them. But should I be testing myself anyway?  Should I be forcing myself to do scary things to take me out of my comfort zone? To what ends? To overcome fear itself? I don't think its possible. The fear for your life and for your child's life is very different. The irrational fear when you are about to go on stage or the rational fear when about to take another higher step on a climbing wall is different. I don't think I can overcome my fears by practising being scared. Or am I practising taking a chance, making that metaphorical leap of faith, that can otherwise hold me back in what I want to achieve? What do I want to achieve and what fear is holding me back?

I tried to think of any fears I had which I could overcome and make my life better. I discounted fears that I could do nothing about or were not the 'do one thing every day' variety. I tried to think of what I was most fearful of lately. What had given me the flutter in my chest and sense of uneasiness because I cared so much about the possibility of it going wrong? I did feel it recently. I realised that that was how I felt the first time I attended a writing class this week.Yes, I was scared. Yes, I did it anyway. Yes, I was glad I did. I will do it again despite being scared because the benefit outweighed the fear. But what if it hadn't? What if it was as bad as I thought it would be and I felt no benefit? Is that what I need to do?

I thought about why I was going to this class. What had made me do something that scared me? What did I want to achieve? I said what I wanted to achieve to the group, almost to keep myself accountable. If I had aimed low there would have been fewer expectations of me but I didn't. I admitted that my ultimate aim in attending the class was to have a book published. I admitted further that I didn't just want my book published but I also wanted it to be on secondary school reading lists!

So what was stopping me? It wasn't the fear of writing. I have written the book. For a while it was the fear of writing a synopsis, but I have written the synopsis. And I've written the covering letter. So all I have to do is send a synopsis and three chapters of my book with a covering letter to agents, and that's where it stops. In a few rare moments of bravado I have sent it out and got rejected, so I didn't again. I know everyone gets rejection letters and even no letters. I know I have to have a tougher skin. I know I should just 'suck it up'. But where's the motivation? 

I was motivated to write. I was motivated to finish the book. I was even motivated to write the letter and synopsis. I felt a sense of achievement in all of those. I thought it likely that I would. However sending it all out to agents hasn't got the same likelihood of success and its something I have no control over. So where's my motivation? When I am more likely to be rejected than accepted why would I do it? That's what fear does. Fear holds you back. Fear puts an impossible wall between you and your possibilities.

So the one thing I am going to do everyday that scares me, because it is the one thing that someday might be of greatest benefit to me, is to submit my book to agents. 

And I will do it every day until I don't have to anymore.



Good is a cool magazine and community I found when I googled the quote.

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