Face Your Fear

It’s summer—long hot days, nights blinking with neon fireflies and the sounds of crickets lulling me to sleep. But it’s also a time to slow down and perhaps tackle a long-ago shelved project. I always try and accomplish something in the summer that teaches me something new. Sometimes it’s a trip to a country I have never seen, other times I read a book that I have been avoiding or I finish a story or rewrite chapters. Last summer I spent the entire summer rewriting my book and sending out queries to literary agents. Finding an agent is a full time job—trust me!

This summer I have an opportunity to take an eight week screenwriting course in NYC at the NY Film Academy. The course is quite intense; I attend class Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. When I registered for the class, I was told I would be required to produce writing every evening after class. I am looking forward to this not only with great anticipation, but also a healthy amount of anxiety…What if I can’t write on demand? What if my story collapses under scrutiny? What if my characters have no depth? What if I find out I have no writing talent at all? All these ask the real question: What if I fail?

When I was younger, the fear of failing kept me from pursuing my dreams. Age has taught me that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s adage; “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” has never been truer. By pushing through and facing my fears I discovered I could do much more than what I believed. By organizing events and fundraisers, I realized that have excellent organization skills. After I learned that a woman had stolen an entire book from me, I was afraid that I would never be able to write again. I was wrong. Eventually, I forgave her (even though she never asked for it) and started to write once again. For quite some time I believed I was too old to begin a new career and was afraid to take a class to earn my MFA. But I soon learned that age is a distinct advantage and now I take great satisfaction when I am the oldest one in the group.

But most of all, I feared that I would fail at the only thing I wanted to do: Write. For most of my life, I never let anyone read my work because I was afraid of the reaction. When I finally got enough courage to take my first creative writing course, on the day on which my short story was to be read and critiqued, I stayed at home—sick to my stomach. I will never forget when my story was finally read aloud. I received some criticism, but to my joy, I also received accolades! It was a day I will always remember; because it was the moment I faced and conquered one of my greatest fears.

This summer I challenge you to do something that would normally cause you anxiety.  Read a influential or classic book you have never read before.  Take a course in a subject that is out of your comfort zone.  Apologize to someone you have wronged.  Take a trip somewhere and avoid anything touristy.  Introduce yourself to someone new and make a friend.  Spend the summer writing letters instead of emailing or texting.  Make a goal to face and conquer something you fear.  Without a doubt you will uncover a new talent, skill or passion.

0 responses to “Face Your Fear”

  1. Arti says:

    Elisheba – What a great post as I countdown to our move out of the country in less than a week and a half! Thank you for sharing your fears and your thoughts, as always. I am surprised to read that you too have fears (smile). It is comforting to know that everyone has fears … learning how to overcome your fears is a struggle for most of us. This is exactly what I’m trying to do over the next two years as I move away from my family & friends. I know it won’t be easy but I also know that i have friends like you in my life who will help me get through it!! Good luck with your class this summer. I’m confident that you will have a great experience and grow yourself not only as a person but also as a writer. Don’t forget to share your experience(s) with all of us!!

  2. Elisheba says:

    …and you will also grow as a result of your move. Don’t forget, I’ll be visiting you early in 2012!

  3. Anshu says:

    Elisheba – It was great reading your post when I know only few days are left when my sister moves away and starts a new life! I never thought that you can also have fears but I guess everyone has something in life that they want to overcome. MIne is to make adjustment(s) without my baby sister and also go back into the working world. I have been home since my kids were little and now they are growing up and I think I need to be among people again, where I can be myself. I know it will be hard as I have always been a mom, a care giver, a wife but with the support of my family I should be able to move on. I am sure that you will just do fine and will grow yourself to be a better writer. Keep on sharing all your experience(s) with all of us!!!

  4. PK Ware says:

    Great post. I was the oldest in my class of older students getting their undergrad degrees and so I know what you are talking about in enjoying the position of oldest. My summer quest is to clean up a basement storage room that has become difficult to walk in. I have had this quest before and failed, but I am not going to let that hold me back. I can’t wait to hear about your screenwriting class in your future posts, though I imagine you won’t have a lot of time for posting during the eight weeks of class.

  5. thejadednyer says:

    This is a great, motivational post! I’m sure your screenplay will be great & you’ll be able to mix & mingle with the indie film scene in the City during your stay!

    I think this summer I’ll continue what I already started this spring- tackling my fear of pushing my body to get fit. It’s been slow so far, but the tiny victories keep me going!

    Can’t wait to see you this summer- we’re going to have a blast! Well, when you’re not writing your fingers off LOL

  6. Nice post.
    I never show my unpublished story to someone more because of the fear of facing their reaction and less because someone will steal my idea.
    Any progress on your book? My book is complete and is in publisher hunting stage.

    • Elisheba says:

      congratulations! I’m completing yet another re-write, this time for the Young Adult reader at the request of an agent, who may or may not represent me. It will depend on how much she likes the rewrite.

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