are you afraid? of what?

I just spent 4.5 hours cleaning.

Yes. We’re pigs.

Actually, blame it on all the fur.

That shit gets EVERYWHERE and it’s impossible to pick up.

Anyhow, all that “alone time” inside my brain where it’s just me…and me…trying to convince myself that there really isn’t some little person sitting inside my cranium, saying things and responding to my what ifs and asking questions.

I had lots of time to think ponder. Mostly I thought about how much I hated cleaning…but mixed in all that was something else.

I blame all of what is to follow on the book I was reading last night about a writer’s journey from a nobody in a small town to becoming a household name.

And remember how I want to like, write a book? Become an author? Have people anxiously turning page after page of my story…waiting to see how it all ends.

Well, I haven’t technically written a SINGLE PAGE.

And I cannot figure out why. What’s holding me back?

What the hell am I afraid of?



Writing an entire book that never gets picked up to be published.

Wasting time.


Then I remembered I QUIT MY JOB for this and when I did, how excited I was to have the opportunity to follow my dream.

Well, reality quickly set in and I’ve been afraid

And that is really hard for me to admit. But here I am, admitting it to you. Openly. Freely.

I know I can string a few words together to make a sentence…so I really shouldn’t be all bitchy.

All those hours alone with me and that little person (SHE SO EXISTS) in my brain was my epiphany…my slap in the face.

I’m at the edge, looking down into nothingness. Teetering. Tiny pebbles crumbling away at my toes, unable to sustain my weight any longer…tumbling down into the great abyss.

Again I step back, unable to break the invisible barrier…sweat beading on my forehead, frustration mixed with terror plastered on my face.

“I’m afraid!” I scream. “Why is this so hard?!”

Tears begin to run, first just one, a single streak on my face, forming a crooked path down my cheek for those that follow.

I wipe the tears away with the back of my hand. “I’m not a crier,” I say harshly, though barely a whisper escapes my lips.

Inhaling deeply, I close my eyes and bite my lip in preparation. Slowly, I make my way back to the edge, sliding my feet, one at a time, so my toes are even with the rigid terrain.  I look down, staring at my own, personal hell. The one hurdle holding me back from everything I’ve always wanted…everything I’ve dreamed about and wished for…everything.

I let the air out of my lungs in one long, slow breath. I steady myself, curling my toes inside my shoes, my muscles involuntarily tensing in anticipation of action.

Taking a final glance over my shoulder, I allow a tiny smile to form, as the darkness of the unknown waits to greet me while all that is bright and familiar nods their approval and waves goodbye.

I jump.


That is my promise to myself.

And to you…to anyone who reads this and needs a little push towards the life they see…the life they want…but a life they aren’t living.




35 Responses to “are you afraid? of what?”

  1. 1 Ken Kendall October 16, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    After twenty years of saying I was going to write a novel, I began this week. I love it. I would never have done so had I not began with daily blogging.

    My blog is about marriage and how men can better love their wives. I hope you will check it out when you have a chance.


  2. 2 maureenlynn October 16, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    you may know this already, but november is national novel writing month. there is a website,, to help you along. i tried last year and failed miserably, but this year will be better!

  3. 3 Laurie October 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    All it takes is a little bit of fear to convince you that something is holding you back. Sometimes you know what’s stopping you, sometimes you don’t, but either way you get all convinced you need to fix it before you can do your thing. Then before you know it you’re too busy getting stuff out of the way so you can get to your thing, but as soon as that’s gone other stuff gets in the way and you never get to your thing.

    Instead of trying to figure out WHAT is holding you back, just be satisfied to know that SOMETHING is holding you back. Instead of trying to deal with specific roadblocks, just decide that NOTHING WILL STOP YOU. And then you’re free to just do your thing — and once you start you’ll be too busy doing it to notice anything in your way.

    Aaaand now I’m going to take my own advice.

  4. 5 Jaime October 16, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    I’m excited about National Novel Writing Month. It’s November. Are you going to participate?!!!

  5. 6 Cyndi October 16, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    NaNoWriMo! I won in 2005 with a novel called Scratch Film and I’m hoping to win again sometime in the future. The 15 minute word wars are awesome. 😀

  6. 7 Spot October 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Omigosh. I totally cleaned today too. And put off starting my novel. We’re so alike it’s uncanny. Except that I freely admitted last month that I’m procrastinating because I’ve submitted things before (short stories mostly) and holding a rejection letter (even when nicely worded) is like having a big neon sign that says “YOU SUCK” in 3 foot high letters above your head. At least that’s what I felt like.

    So, long story short, I’m standing on that cliff with you, except my feet are bare so that I can dig my toes in if I change my mind at the very last second. And don’t be all let’s hold hands and jump together because I’m not falling for that!

    Go for it Jessica! Seriously.


  7. 9 Belle October 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Starting is the scariest part! Of any task. Don’t intimidate yourself. Look at how many people love your blog! Certainly you can write a book… 🙂

  8. 10 mark price October 16, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Nice post. My wife wants me to write a book but I don’t have a long enough attention span. My friend wrote a book. It was good. Kind of a how to guide for us dumb guy’s to become more desirable to women, and really to become better men. Not me of course, I am all that and a gallon of “cherry garcia” ice cream. Ask anyone…except my wife, or any of my old girlfriends, or…well, just take my word for it.
    It’s called Charm School for Guys.
    I’m pretty sure she modeled her ideal guy after me. Or not.

    My friggin point, after all that, is if you have the gumption to write a whole novel, Bravo for you! You can’t possibly fail. If you begin to climb a very tall mountain and you do your very best, how can you fail? So you don’t make it quite all the way to the top, (become a NY Times best seller) so what? You still climbed like a champ, you were blessed with beautiful views along the way, and faced with challenges that you learned to overcome. These things are what makes winners. Like YOU. And my friend Mary. Write On Blogger Buddy!

  9. 11 JaimeLynne October 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Jessica , not every one is standing at the top waving goodbye. You will see many familiar faces along the way cheering you on!

  10. 13 Angelia October 16, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Hey, hey, hey ….LOOK at you! Who’s afraid of the big bad writing a book wolf? NOT YOU!

    “You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”-Beverly Sills

  11. 14 Angelia October 16, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I will say this, too. I didn’t write for 20years. When I finally did, it was because of Jason’s X, an ENGLISH major received from a private college in New Hampshire (talk about intimidating). She is a Excellent writer. Technically, especially, but you know what? She doesn’t write with her heart and soul. I truly believe that is what seperates those who love words, grammar and essays – to those that LOVE all that AND touching people. Reaching out with that human nudge. You have that girl. You are very talented. I wish you the best in your venture but you definitely don’t need it.

    • 15 Jessica October 17, 2009 at 6:56 pm

      Angelia: thank you… and you are so right: being able to write grammatically correct…doesn’t mean it’ll be interesting…it’s the emotion in the words…it’s taking the person reading on a journey and wrapping them in to the story…

      I’m guessing the X doesn’t write with emotion 😉

  12. 16 Stone Fox October 16, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    afraid of sucking? of failing? of getting those REJECTED letters?

    lets fast forward a couple of years, and there you are, on The View, being interviewed by Barbara Walters Re-animated. when they ask you how long it took to be published, do you really want your answer to be, “OMG! my book got published by the first house that read it!!” frankly, that answer sucks. people want to hear the down-on-my-luck-hard-work-got-me-published story. not the easy-way-right-away story.

    just sayin’.

  13. 21 centria October 17, 2009 at 6:35 am

    I wrote a book once (never tried to publish it but that’s another story) and it was surprisingly easy. The Mind would go through all its explanations about why you would not absolutely sit down and start writing. You’d let it carry on wildly. Then when it had wound down its litany, you just started typing. Every friggin’ day it would whine! (Kind of like the outdoor commitment does sometimes). It’s only when we believe our thoughts we get in trouble. My theory, anyway. P.S. sounds like we BOTH cried yesterday.

  14. 22 Alice in Wonderland October 17, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Just go for it! I have had some returned saying ‘not suitable’ when I used to do a bit of writing for magazines, but that never put me off. I just used to read what other people were writing, and I thought to myself, well, I can do that!
    Good Luck!

  15. 24 Heather October 17, 2009 at 11:59 am

    I gave up everything I’ve ever worked for and I mean everything. All my years of studying at college, at university, of climbing the ladder – I just walked away from it, not knowing where I was going, but I just new that I had to get away from it.

    I, too, was afraid. I wasn’t an artist when I gave up my work. I’ve become an artist over the past year. I was terrified of showing my work because I was new, then I started showing my digital work. I started painting, was terrified to show it, but took the leap. I started evening classes but, again, I was afraid. I started blogging and was scared that I’d fail. I started a full time art course and was terrified, and I mean absolutely terrified. I was terrified of failing, of not being as good as other people in the class, and I still am but I did it anyway.

    I did all of this in one year. My point is we’re always going to be scared of the next step; of the unknown; but we have to do it. Otherwise, everything we’ve given up will have been for nothing, and that really is failing. You can do it girl. Have faith in yourself, and don’t forget, WE all have faith in you.

    • 25 Jessica October 17, 2009 at 6:51 pm

      Heather: thank you…your journey is one that I know I’ll look to time and again on my own little “walk.” and thank you for your faith…along with those words that are so true…not trying is failing in it’s truest form.

  16. 26 morethananelectrician October 17, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Just write. Maybe working toward such a big goal as a novel can be difficult to see…but you can always write and build a character base. Sit on the street and imagine stories for people you see…maybe take random photos of crowds. And do it from home…building characters can be important for future work.

  17. 27 bevchen October 17, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I know from reading your blog that you can write. So all you have to do is go for it. I will sooo buy the novel when it’s done!

  18. 29 wordnerd45 October 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Write, not because you HAVE to, but because you WANT to. Write:
    Stupid stuff
    Silly stuff
    insane stuff
    write in the buff!

    Write fun stuff
    Write teary stuff
    Write lovely stuff
    Just WRITE — ENOUGH!

    Hi there, thanks for commenting on my post. I just want to add that writing must come from a place in the heart. If you’re struggling with getting going, then do what I do — I sit down with my muse and we chat. Check out “Conversations with My Muse” to see how these chats are going. Let your brain unhinge, and let your mind expand. I know it sounds very 60s Timothy Geary ish, but so what? I have the best conversations I’ve ever had with an ADHD, Bi-polar muse who doesn’t even exist in the real world.

    The Nerd

  19. 30 liz October 18, 2009 at 4:30 am

    And what if you don’t write?

    What’s the payoff … the reward for staying where you are?

    What’s the pain?

    And …if you move forward [or sideways …wherever!] what’s the payoff …what’s the pain?

    You know that voice in your head [and are you sure there’s only one? I have about a dozen, but don’t tell anyone]?

    Tell it to Shut The Feather Up!

    And as for fear … it’s holding hands with courage and excitement.

    One step …one bite …one leap … whatever …just do one thing to move toward your dream.

    As for FAILURE … what does it even mean?

    Having a dream … a purpose …a sense of passion … makes us feel alive.

    Making promises to yourself to act on the dream …now …that’s success.

    Speaking it and asking for support …that’s success.

    Swearing and nagging hubby as you struggle and flow in your writing … that’s success.

    Eating your body weight in yummies as you muse on your ideas …that’s success.

    Finding reasons to stay in your comfort zone … that’s normal.

    I know FEAR by its first name …it’s an insidious little bastard and it can wrap it’s tentacles around you in a way that feels almost comforting.

    It’s voice is all the excuses for not doing and being the incredibly perfect/imperfect person you wish to be.

    yeh – there are millions of books …so what?

    We all have unique voices …so go sing.


    p.s I’m in the middle of a 2 day fear attack about a whole enterprise I’m developing. One moment I know it could revolutionise learning spaces for charities … the next …I’m sure a million other people have done it.

    So …my gut wrenches and I can’t stop sneezing [yeh – a hysterical stress reaction …except when you’ve been sneezing on and off for 18 hours!] …and I even yelled at my lovely dog Coco [i’ve apologised].

    And … I’m not ignoring the feelings … I’m listening and working out new ways to focus the project and get support.

    I’m also allowing myself to be afraid and excited and proud of how far I’ve brought the idea forward in a year.

    And writing this to you …initially to support you …has provided a sense of support for me. Thanks Jessica.

    Oh yeh … as I was writing away I realised that I’d stopped sneezing!

    And I’m going to take Coco for a walk and be content.

  20. 31 liz October 18, 2009 at 5:18 am

    Just one more thing Jessica.

    Your post inspired my comment … and my blog post today.I’ve linked your post into mine and hope a pile of my readers wander across because I think you’re a fab writer …and person.

    Off to walk Coco now …wish I was a dog sometimes!

    xx Liz

  21. 32 Liz October 18, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Thanks Jessica for your great comments over on my blog.

    After walking the dog I went and looked at my blog Page where I gave away the Life Dreaming workbook I wrote in 2006.I decided to share it out again on Twitter and Facebook.

    And because you and your readers are fab people – here’s a copy

    No strings … just decided to give it away in these times when people are grappling with what’s important in their lives right now.

    About to follow you on Twitter.Nah …I’m not stalker material …just enjoy your insights.

    Keep up the great writing.

  22. 33 Barista October 19, 2009 at 8:44 am

    So write. Do it. Stop thinking and just do. Get something on paper/screen every day. In no time you’ll be like me – 2600 pages written and still no idea where to go with it.

  23. 34 nashvilleben October 19, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    ah, so great! thanks for sharing. at least you are thinking about it and not being satisfied with standing still.

    have you started that book of yours yet? i guess it’s only been a few days since you wrote this…

    but maybe writing the first sentence will lead to a chapter and eventually a whole book.

  24. 35 inwardsun October 20, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Wow, am I happy I stepped into this circle today…such honesty and support…you know, we are all in it together cheering on ourselves through each other! We are one team. And we are all winners!

    I will be back for more reading, but already now I say, go girl!!

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