October 21, 2014

The Mountains Look Smaller in the Rear-View Mirror Jocelyn Faire


I can honestly say I am not afraid of ebola.
I am not afraid that I will be blown up by a terrorist.
I am not afraid that I will contract Aids.
I have only had my cholesterol levels checked once.
But, every now and then, when the elevator door opens, I fear there might be a dead body in there.

On the writing journey, I have come to realize that it's the stones in the shoes that continually irritate, and slow the pen down. It's the nagging doubts about the call to be a writer, the value of my words.
And time and time again God provides reassurance and confirmation. He knows that I am made of mud.
About two years ago I went skiing in the mountains, after a lengthy time of not skiing. At the time, I was close to completing my book on the grief journey, and was experiencing a case of Capital-D Doubt. What was I thinking to let people in on my personal sorrow? How was this all going to play out? I knew I was afraid ... the fear of vulnerability.

Nature nourishes my soul and this day I had planned to ski the mountains. In order to go down a mountain, on two skinny pieces of fibreglass you have to focus on the immediate. The slopes of Mount Norquay intimidated me when I was younger, but I had almost forgotten. This day the chair lift took me to the top, I could see the valley of ten peaks to my right, absolute beauty all around, a sense of majesty, the bigger picture; and then, there was little old me. And I felt that recurring fear, what was I thinking to get on this lift? Now I'm at the top of a mountain, and somehow I have to get down. 
At that moment, I had a flashback to when I learned to ski ... the taste of fear in my throat because I could not see ahead of me, unable to make my legs move because all I could see was that the mountain dropped away. I had been sure I would fall off the edge. A good friend came alongside and said to me ... “Jocelyn, the mountain will unfold.” And it did back then and this day again. As I got to the edge, it was not so steep, there was a way down to the next edge, and the next. That day on the mountain, God reminded me with a personal object lesson ... all these things going on ... they will unfold in their due time.

                                                     Trust in me.
It's a process. I did not get chair-lifted down the mountain, No, I still had to ski, but as I did, my legs regained their strength,  I stopped to catch my breath, take a moment to appreciate the incredible beauty, the sense of freedom, and most importantly God's presence making me feel very much alive!
Too often the fear of the future steals my hope of the day ...

When I reread my journals, I wonder why I seem to have to go over this doubting business again and again. And then again. And praise God, he keeps answering.

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.'” Isaiah 41:13 NIV
When the doubts return, I raise my right hand and picture God taking hold of it, the help comes.

And I wonder if all writers are doubters, or do only doubters write? 

Jocelyn blogs at:  http://whoistalking.wordpress.com

October 20, 2014

Self-Talk by Joylene M. Bailey

As I thought about the theme for this month, two stories from my past came to mind.

1.  Back in my childhood I did a Royal Conservatory of Music piano exam every other year.  They were terrifying for me, but eventually I figured out a way to power through the fear.  I would tell myself, “It’s only 20 minutes out of my WHOLE LIFE.”  It made the experience less daunting somehow.

2.  Years ago at a little country school, I got into conversation with 5 year old Ryan.  He told me that one day when the bus had dropped him off at his home, there was nobody there.  It scared him and he wanted to cry.  “But I thought, there’s no use crying,” he said, “So I decided to sit on the step and wait.”  I marveled at his thought process.

When facing fear, I do a lot of self-talk.
You can do this.   
It’s a learning process and it’s okay to make mistakes.
God gifted you to write so WRITE! and let Him worry about what to do with it.

Eventually my self-talk becomes prayer talk.  I tell God what’s got me worked up, ask Him for help and direction and that I would know He is present.  Scripture often comes to mind that encourages me on.   

I was nervous sitting down to write my first blog post for Inscribe Writers Online.  After all, who am I?  Why would anybody be interested in anything I had to write?

Then I read some of the other blog posts for this month and was comforted to see I wasn’t the only one. You all encouraged me.  Thank you!  I will use some of your comments for my self-talk next time I need to push through my fears.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your own self-talk, here are a few great quotes to get you started:

“The best way out is always through.”  Robert Frost

“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”  Judy Blume

“Fear doesn’t go away.  The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.”  Steven Pressfield

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”  Winston Churchill

“People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”  Peter Drucker

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”  Thomas Edison

“I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Phil. 4:13 (HCSB)

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”
2 Tim. 1:7 (AMP)

“As Christian writers we have no excuse for letting fear stifle the words we are called to write.”  Sheila Webster

October 18, 2014

Running Towards Fear by Gloria Guest

I have run smack, head on into the obstacle called fear many times in my life and I have to admit that a lot of those times I chose flight over fight. It has been no different when it has come to writing. Fear has been a barrier to me in my writing ever since I first realized that I had the ability because with that ability, came the realization that other people could read what I wrote and criticize or judge me. In my years working as a reporter I dealt with it on a daily basis and did learn to take a deep breath and get it done. However, in my own personal writing the fear has been harder to get over.
Team Work

When I think about how to deal with that fear I think about an obstacle course that my son participated in when he was going through training at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. Each trooper was placed on a team that trained for weeks in preparation for the competition. The course was gruelling with many challenging, timed obstacles. However the pièce de résistance was the twelve foot wall that the troops had to climb over without the use of a rope. There is even a sculpture on the grounds of the College dedicated to this obstacle entitled, ‘to overcome.’ My son’s troop practiced this particular obstacle diligently.

Pulling the last man up and over!
On the day of the event my husband and I followed our son’s team around the course, cheering them on. Finally they came to the Wall. I stared at its formidable height not sure that they were up for the challenge. I was about to be amazed.  The first two troopers climbed up on others shoulders and hoisted themselves atop the wall. Then they leaned down and gave a hand up to the next ones climbing up off of other’s shoulders. The last person had to take a mighty run, jump at the wall and grab onto a hand offered by someone who was himself hanging onto another. It was quite the feat but within a short time they were over. Their team didn't win the obstacle course, but they were proclaimed the fastest troop over the wall! They were true over-comers and it was all due to practice and diligence.

In military training they are taught to run towards fear; to choose to run towards the very obstacle standing in the path between them and victory. And the only way that lesson is learnt is through repetitive training and discipline.

There are so many analogies from that obstacle course that can be applied to my own fears when I write. I face obstacles. I want to get over them and be victorious whether it’s posting a blog or publishing an article or book. I can only do so with diligence and repetitive training. And sometimes, as in the case of the wall, it takes team work and a hand up. It could be from an editor, a mentor or friend.

Ultimately though, it is the hand of God that reaches down from that obstacle and offers me His hand. He encourages me to run towards my fear and take a leap of faith that He will be there for me.

I will overcome.

October 16, 2014

Facing Down Our Fears - Loretta Bouillon

What an appropriate topic for me this month! Being relatively new in the writing industry, I have had to face a few fears this year.

Starting a blog, joining a writer’s group, making a Facebook page; even CALLING myself a writer was a big one for me! One of my giants is still awaiting me in October, at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference. I am thrilled to be able to go. I am even more thrilled to be going with my seventeen year old daughter,Carlee. She is also a writer and very gifted one--says her English teacher. Her Christian online school has agreed to pay her registration fee for this conference, so the bonus is being able to do this together! We will fly there, stay in a hotel, and enjoy eating our meals at the banquets that are included with the price. It will be girl time!
Carlee and I

Back in the Spring of this year, I had to make a decision between, taking a couple of online university writing courses through UBC, the cost of self-publishing a book OR choosing to go to this conference. I chose the conference as I thought it would serve as a crash course in writing, publishing and everything that goes with it. Some of the workshops include topics such as Writing Picture Books, How to Spot Rookie Mistakes, Self-Publishing, Online Promotion and Social Media, Tools for Great Dialogue, and Finding Your Voice.

Anyway, back to the giant. With this conference, there is an opportunity to have a 10 minute “pitch” with an editor or agent. I have chosen to “pitch” my children’s picture book. To be completely honest, I AM TERRIFIED! However, I am a fairly good actor when I want to be. I am still terrified. The fear of the unknown. The fear of rejection. Being completely inexperienced, I expect rejection and I think I am okay with it. I tell myself that the experience will be invaluable; a great learning tool. It will be good for me.

What sold this conference to me was the sweet conference co-coordinator, who I met online while I was checking out the possibility of attending. She commented, “When I attended this conference for the first time, I felt like I had come home. I am very excited for you!” Although never having attended a writer’s conference, I still could relate to that statement.  I have been to several homeschooling conferences and Christian women’s conferences and there is something wonderfully uplifting about being together with hundreds of like-minded people in the same venue. It is a recharge, it is networking and it is feeling understood.

Attending this conference, I will definitely be walking through and overcoming some fears, however I see the opportunity as an incredible blessing. What a wonderful chance to learn and grow in this craft with my daughter. This is a gift in which I accept gratefully.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)