December 2nd, 2009 by Bob Mayer

I’ve been working on my Warrior Writer program for a while now, currently teaching an on-line with it.  Just now, I was brought back to the beginning, when I first thought about doing what eventually became the book Who Dares Wins: The Green Beret Way To Conquer Fear & Succeed.

I always preach the ‘original idea’ for a book.  You should know what the very first thought you had that inspired you to start writing a book.  Because if you forget it, you’ll lose your way.  I was in Maui, teaching at the Writers Retreat & Conference.  I’d been talking with some of the attendees about being in Special Forces and what had made us different and was wondering how I could bring some of those ‘special’ things to the civilian world.  One female CEO told me that if there was one thing every business, every person, had in common, it was fear.

That was eight years ago.  I wrote my first draft of Who Dares Wins then.  And added to it ever since.  And I have to keep coming back to the power of fear.  It is many people’s primary motivator.  I start my Warrior Writer workshop by asking what the attendees greatest fear as a writer is.  The answers vary, but they are the key stumbling block to each person’s success.  I’m getting responses to one of the first exercises in Warrior Writer today from the participants in the workshop.

Some people fear failure or rejection, so they never submit, thus rejecting themselves.

Some people fear success.  So they sabotage their own work, never living up to their potential.

Fear of being ‘good enough.’  Even though writing is a very subjective art.

Fear of writing not being a ‘real job’.  It is a real job, and a great job.

Fear of not writing the ‘perfect’ manuscript.  There is no such thing.  But some writers spin their wheels trying to achieve what can’t be achieved, they never finish the manuscript.

Fear of change.  This is perhaps the greatest fear.  We all know people who would rather stay in horrible situations, jobs, marriages, homes, etc. rather than face the unknown.  I have found the greatest impediment to getting published for writers is that they are unwilling to learn and change what they are doing.  They swap deck chairs on the Titanic, rather than dare to change.

In Warrior Writer one of the nine Special ‘Forces’ is COURAGE.  We focus on learning what your real fears are, how to venture out of the comfort zone into the courage zone, thus increasing our capabilities and conquering our fears.  We learn what real change is and how to bring it about in the face of fear.

That is why WHO DARES WINS.

What are you afraid of as a writer?

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5 comments to “Fear”

  1. nightsmusic
     · December 2nd, 2009 at 10:23 am · Link

    I suppose mine is probably the most common fear a writer has. That everything is crap and the story sucks and even though I’ve finished it, what I loved about it at the beginning lost something between my brain and the paper and it just turns…ugh.

    I know that’s not really true. At least the logical part of me does. It might not be brilliant, but who really is? I still can’t help the emotional part of me thinking it’s the worst dross ever.

  2. ptn
     · December 2nd, 2009 at 12:26 pm · Link

    I feared both failure and success for a long time and it kept me from writing at all. I finally let go of both.

    Now the only fear is not capturing the story as well as the one that plays out in my head, the story that wants and needs to be told.

  3. Carrie Vaughn
     · December 2nd, 2009 at 1:29 pm · Link

    You know, I’ve never really been afraid of rejection. Rejection just means doing it over again. I can do that.

    I’m afraid that people won’t like me and my work, which is a little different than rejection, I think. This is that “first day of school” fear. That I’ll be sitting alone in the lunchroom with everyone laughing at me. Not sure that makes any sense…

    And at this stage of my career, I’m afraid of doing the thing that will screw everything up and mean that no one ever wants to work with me again. This fear doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing anything, any more than fear of car accidents will keep me from driving.

    I just stomp down on the niggling, nagging voices until they shut up… :)

  4. Jess
     · December 2nd, 2009 at 1:52 pm · Link

    A lot of things. Not getting the story right. Success, because it will surely be a fluke and then everyone will know what a failure I really am. Being vulnerable.

  5. Brenna Ash
     · December 3rd, 2009 at 5:00 pm · Link

    Just popped in to say that I’m one of the people taking the Warrior Writer course and it’s fantastic. Scary, yes, because we have to identify our fears and worries, etc. But it feels good to write them down and then find out that you are nowhere’s near alone if your particular fear. Many of us have the same fears on some level and as hard as it is to stomp down and ignore it, we need to find a way to do so.



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