I’m sure most of you are familiar with this sort of “experiment.” Taking a certain amount of time and dedicating it to being open, to turning away from automatic “no’s,” and saying “yes” as often as possible. It’s not a new concept but it’s still a good one if you, like me, shy away from opportunities out of fear.
Now I’m not knocking fear, it has its purposes, but it can also easily take over your life. As writers, we can become very exclusionary. We spend time alone, we don’t like to break our habits, and we will take small guaranteed successes over risking any success at the chance of an epic win. There’s also a lot of fear or rejection that runs deep in writers. That fear keeps us from sharing work, from putting our stuff out there, and from putting ourselves out there.
You, like me, might get to a point where you say “enough is enough you stupid fear monster, leave me alone!”(Or something to that effect.) And you want to change things about yourself, and your feelings, and your life. But where do you start? How do you get out of the fear cycle? You start by saying “yes.”
Don’t let those what-ifs trip you up. Think about the end game. You want to live a fuller life; you don’t want the fear monster eating your dreams. You want to seize the day and find greater success in all aspects of your life including your writing. While you still need a level of consideration when offered opportunities (don’t go jumping off bridges), you also need to say yes to as many things you say no to, if not more.
While this idea can be applied to all facets of our lives, when considering the writing experience think about the things you’ve said no to. Are there publications you’ve avoided submitting to? Is there a story you want to write but keeping yourself you can’t do it? Are there readings you’ve considered participating in but are afraid to get up on the stage? Don’t let the fear monster take these experiences away from you. While fear is always a formidable foe, finding success in the ways you want to is always worth fighting your demons. You are in charge of your destiny, of your success, of your writing. Look at the things you’ve been saying no to. Consider if that pesky no is holding you back and keeping you from attaining your dreams. Then go out, brave the world, and start saying yes.