Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fear Is the Mind Killer

Come one, come all, to Jamie's Circus of Fear!  Actually no, there probably won't be anything too scary here.  As an amateur blogger, as in 'I have never before even contemplated doing this in my life ever at all period', there is a lot to be afraid of on the internet.  Am I doing this wrong?  Are people better than I am?  Am I just one more anonymous stream of data racing from one system to the next?

Of course, the answer to all of these things is a resounding yes.  And of course, like anything on the internet, that's a total lie.  Your internet identity is as unique as you are – but I digress.  That's a post for another day.

Let's get personal.  Fear is something that lives in our hearts right next to happiness and bacon.  Scientists will tell you that fear is all in the mind, and while this is true, it sure doesn't feel like it.  Fear is heavy and dark and larger than the Empire State Building.  It hovers over you like a persistent hummingbird or a very angry gorilla.  Fear is the sharks beneath our feet, hiding in our shadows and chasing us away from our dreams.

Or, if you're a writer, toward them.  Writing, much like life, is a battle.  Against the paper, the pen, the words in your brain, and your brain itself.  Most of us are afraid of some part of the process; I know I am.  Writing fears are easy, as fears go, because writing is a space without boundaries.  No story is quite the same, no voice has quite the same timbre or pitch. 

The great thing about being a writer, or any other type of artist, is that we have the perfect arena for facing our fears.  A novel.  A painting.  An abstract jumble of junkyard metal that can only be described as Neo-Cthulu.  Every day that we step into that arena to do battle with the vicious Work-In-Progress monster, we shout to the sky that "You will not have my soul." 

So tell me, what are your fears?  Do you incorporate them into your stories and characters?  Do you embrace them or destroy them?


  1. Considering my fears center around being abandoned and dying alone, and You Are Not Alone is my favorite trope... yeah, I work them into my work and conquer them there.

  2. My fears center around never achieving the goals I've set for myself. Trying and trying but never quite succeeding. Those fears start a cycle of me not wanting to do anything because, what's the point?

    I don't think I've ever had a character with that kind of fear in my work. Most of my characters are too busy being afraid of their malicious creator to have time for anything else

  3. My fears are of not making a difference. I often feel so helpless in the onslaught of politics and global greed, of selfishness and impersonal systems.

    My characters always make a difference, even if it is just for one person or one circumstance. I live vicariously through them.

  4. My biggest fear in my writing is having characters that are boring. So what if the plot is great if the characters fall flat. So, that is what I work on the most, and give myself the biggest headache over :)