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.