Fear Inventory

Writing Life

Rena Willis

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worn Graffiti  that says: Why the Constant Fear. Story: Fear Inventory by Rena Willis
Photo by Simon Watkinson on Unsplash

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.” - Frank Herbert, Dune

I hunt for words. I wrack my brain. I spend hours thinking, creating, polishing — making the intangible tangible with painstaking precision. And then I wrap myself around my creation, hold it close and tremble at even the idea of letting it go, releasing it into the wild, gifting it a life of its own. What am I afraid of?

Face my fear. Name my fear. Give it space, but don’t let it take control. How do I do that?

What if my writing isn’t good enough? What if no one likes it? What if I’m not taken seriously? I write the words down, run my fingers over them. I push my pen into the paper and scribble the words: “So what?”

Fear pushes back. “You know what,” it says.

What if I don’t have any stories to tell? What if I won’t be able to find the right words, won’t be able to say what I want to say? What if I’m not good enough?

“Exactly,” Fear says.

Words stick to my fingers, cling to my heart. I shake them off. I write them down. “I am a writer.”

Fear whispers: “You’re an imposter.”

The cursor blinks. I write. And then, I write more. I write until I run out of words, until the page is bursting with them. I take a breath and click the ‘Submit’ button. Fear is the imposter.

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Rena Willis

Writer & Educator — one midlife crisis away from a bestseller.