Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In the words of Ralph

And by "Ralph" I mean Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, 'Always do what you are afraid to do.' "

I have had to face a lot of fears to keep myself on this path of publication, and continue to do what I was "afraid to do." My number #1 fear probably being 'fear of rejection' - in any form. From my crit group, from agents I was querying (now from editors), from my self, and possibly scariest of all, from my mom. Seriously, she just might be my toughest reader. When I get any praise from her on my writing, I know it means something. My fears haven't ended with getting an agent, but luckily I now have someone else helping push me to do the things I'm "afraid to do."

There are lots of other things to be afraid of too besides rejection, and not all of them have to do with writing. I think the idea of scuba diving sounds amazing, but I'm terrified of drowning/blood poisoning/suffocating/being eaten by a shark. (Which is odd, because as a child I used to want to go in one of those cages surrounded by Great Whites that you see on SharkWeek. I must have eventually figured out I'm not immortal or something, because now that idea sounds like suicide.) That's just one example, I could give you a whole bunch more.

But the only way to experience life in the fullest, most satisfying way possible is to do the things we are afraid of -- right Ralph? My mom used to tell me and my sisters: "nothing ventured, nothing gained." Or as my husband likes to say (take note of his love of relating life to sports): "You'll miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

So, let's all venture out, do what we are afraid of, and take those shots. The worst that can happen is that you'll miss and have to try again. Or get eaten by a shark.

19 comments:

Cheyanne said...

I STILL want to get in one of those shark cages. To me, that's not nearly as scary as rejection in the writing world. I don't fear getting published nearly as much as I fear actually having a book the shelves and then never selling a single copy. THAT would be a nightmare.

Lyla said...

I understand about the shark cage. I would just feel like an undersea suet cake in one of those things.

Patti said...

I love that saying: "You'll miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

I think I'll use it on my boys who play basketball.

WindyA said...

when it comes down to it, I think that's a great way to look at things. What's the worst that can happen? They say no? But really, if you look at it against all the other stuff in your life, you'll probably find your life is still pretty full.

Thanks for the reminder :)

Suzie F. said...

Wise advice form Mr. Emerson. I wish that I had embraced that advice when I was younger. But better late than never, right? Pursuing publication has to be one of the scariest yet exciting things I've ever done.

Love your blog and good luck on your journey!

Elana Johnson said...

LOL! Shark bait, nice. I so agree. Usually when I find myself the most satisfied is when I've taken something I feared, and conquered it.

Theresa Milstein said...

I keep trying to put myself out there, although I find rejection painful as well. My first ever blog post has a similar quote to yours.

Those who give up have no hope of succeeding, so we have a better shot.

Sara B. Larson said...

Cheyanne - That is definitely a huge fear for me, too. I actually had that in my blog post, but it was too long so I cut that part out.

Lyla - Ha ha, so true!

Patti - I'm glad you liked the quote.

Windy - That's what I've had to (and continue to) tell myself.

Suzie - Thank you very much!

Elana - I completely agree. Overcoming a fear does = a huge sense of accomplishment.

Theresa - Definitely don't give up, if you never give up, you'll eventually "make that shot." :)

Christine Fonseca said...

I love this post! And yes, yes, yes...we should always do what we are afraid to try!

Elle Strauss said...

My greatest "fear" is getting old and still waiting to find out what I'm going to be when I grow up.

ps: how's the purgatory?

Carolyn V. said...

Great advice! Do what you are afraid of. Thanks Sara! =)

Amie B said...

yeah - me and shark cages...not such a good idea. knowing my luck they'd find the weak spot in the frame. then i'd be lunch.

thanks for helping me to remember to press forward and do what i'm afraid of.

and i'd always be happy to send you some of those cookies. no contest needed :)

Maegan Langer said...

I'm with you on the scuba diving thing. I took scuba diving for a PE credit in college. There's just something about being trapped under water with your life-source strapped to your back . . . never again. The shark cage is actually a lot of fun (they weren't great whites, though). Seriously, I recommend it.

ali said...

YES! I totally agree with you. Some of my best experiences, happiest adventures, have been things that scared the pants off of me. That's how we grow!

Russo said...

Oh, this post is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much. The quote at the beginning rocked also.

Jen said...

I'll take this as literal as I can, but you WILL NOT and I mean WILL NOT see me in a shark cage... baby steps my friend, baby steps.

Sara B. Larson said...

Christine - I'm glad you agree with it. :) It's always easier said than done, though, isn't it? Sigh...

Elle- That's quite the fear, too. And purgatory is about the same on my end. how about you? ;)

Thanks Carolyn!

Amie - Seriously? Woohoo! Send 'em on over! :D

Maegan - I may still try to do it someday, I do still think it would be amazing. But also terrifying.

Ali - I completely agree.

Russo - I'm so glad!

Jen - Ha ha, okay, I won't ever force you to go in a shark cage. ;)

C.E. said...

Wonderful. I might just bookmark this post so i can come back to it and reread whenever I start to feel that way. Again. and again.

Found you on Kiersten White's blog and am pleased to have done so!

Sara B. Larson said...

C.E. - Thank you so much! I'm glad you found my blog. :)