Monday, November 14, 2011

Follow Your Bliss!

by Kate Collins

I almost titled this, “Paralyzed by Fear”, but that sounded too negative, and I want this to be positively uplifting.  Just so you know, I’m using the word bliss to reference what makes us happy in life, what makes us want to get up in the morning, what fulfills us as human beings.

Stalled careers are a big problem among writers both published and unpublished. I’ve met people who want to be published, who have the ability to write, but can’t bring themselves to send their work out to a publishing house for fear of rejection. I’ve met talented musicians and artists with the same problem. I've also met authors who aren't making it in the genre they're in and need to try something new, but are frozen. (That happened to me before I went into mysteries). The only thing keeping them from achieving their bliss is fear. They are afraid to trust their talent. They’re afraid of how bad rejection will feel. They’re afraid they’ll be humiliated. Ask successful writers/artists/musicians about those fears and they will tell you they had to let go of them or they never would have made it.

Being out in the public as much as I am, I encounter so many people who are stuck in a cloud of fear and negativity -- from stalled careers, money troubles, relationship issues, parenting problems, and on and on. But then I see others who have had the same or worse tribulations and still found ways to find their bliss. I’ve heard unbelievably touching stories of people who’ve come from some of the worst conditions in the world – impoverished villages in Africa, dangerous ghettos, prisons—who made their dreams happen against all odds. Their secret was that they never stopped believing in themselves.  

Believing gives you the power to achieve. Letting fear take hold keeps you from achieving. You have to ignore fear, push it aside, and say to yourself, “I want to do this. I will do this. If I get rejected, that doesn’t mean I failed. It means I have to do better. I will learn from this and try again.” That’s what I call success. After all, what is the worst that can happen? You may discover that your talent lies elsewhere. But how will you know unless you try?  As in a quote I read recently, failure isn’t trying and not succeeding, failure is not trying at all.

Write down your goals on a piece of paper and post them where you can see them. Meditate or pray about them every day. If your gut is telling you to go for it, if a little whisper in your mind is saying, “Write that book!” or “Get that song published,” or "change careers," don’t ignore it. Those gut feelings, or whispers, are coming from a higher power. Listen. Let go of your fears and seek your bliss.

If you haven’t found your bliss, what fears are holding you back? What would it take to make you let them go?


Barbara said...

After a few years of freelance writing, I stopped because I had to go back to a full-time job and a time-consuming commute. Then I retired but found myself stalled and five years later I'm still stalled. Thanks for this post. I just need to stop reading so much and start writing.

Kate Collins said...

Barbara, I've been stalled a few times, too. It took me almost a year of being stalled between writing historical romance and mystery because I was too afraid to fire my then agent. Once I did that, it freed me up somehow and I started moving forward. Is there anything that's holding you back?

Nancy Lynn Jarvis said...

Every time I give a book talk I open with, "Show of hands, please, how many of you have or want to write a book?" Most hands go up. Then I ask, "How many of you have?" The hands go down. It's easy enough to have a dream, harder to follow it because fear comes into play.
At the end of the talk, I tell them to be brave and take the first step because they will have so much fun if they do!

Nancy said...

Believing in yourself is probably, indeed, the key to achieving your goals, but it is also an easier-said-than-done issue for a lot of people. I think self doubt and insecurities plague everyone...some to a greater degree than others, perhaps. Those degrees may be the difference between those who've found their bliss and those who haven't.

Authors Write said...

The phrase "look before you leap" comes to mind when reading this blog. In creative situations there is no greater fear than rejection. So sometimes we tend to stare before we leap. We analyze before we leap, and before too long we just get used to standing on the edge.

I have found that if I feel the fear creeping up then I better leap and hope for the best. This does not apply to skydivers, however, so i better think before i speak. But that's a whole different blog.

Thanks, Kate, for this post. I always enjoy your positivity.

Barbara said...

Thanks for your reply, Kate. I am working on my first attempt at fiction after writing nonfiction (mostly history) for years. I'm stuck at a plot point and fearing that I just can't write fiction. At least I think this is why I'm stalled. Also, there is another novel I want to write which is based on a real person. I can't write his biography because I've only been able to find out facts about one, fascinating, part of his life, so I want to write a novel about him. Maybe I should ditch the mystery and get started on him?