I used to dread winter coming. I grew up in Michigan, a very cold and snowy place during the winter. So when the days started getting shorter in the fall I knew subzero temperatures and life-threatening patches of black ice were on the way. Then I moved to California and I didn’t have to fear the snow and ice anymore. But my dread of winter stayed with me. There was just something about it getting dark so early in the afternoon that depressed me. I felt this need to withdraw and retreat until spring showed up again.
I also noticed that my writing output seemed to suffer during the end of December, but I blamed it on the holiday madness that erupts every year. I was too busy to think straight, much less push through those difficult last few chapters of my novel.
No matter what area of your life you’re looking at—your relationships, your career, or your art—taking emotional risk is incredibly hard.
It just is.
Sometimes it gets easier. Sometimes you meet that wonderful person who deserves your trust. Sometimes your willingness to be vulnerable pays off and you connect or grow in a way you never thought possible.
But even if you become a Jedi Warrior of Emotional Risk-Taking, each time holds its own new risk. And each time, fear will try to get in there in some way and stop you.
How many times have you overcomplicated something in your life and made a mess out of it?
Yeah, me too.
This will especially happen if the thing you’re trying to approach is something you care about very much, and something in which you’re heavily invested regarding the outcome.
There are 3 most common ways writers over-complicate the process. Here’s how you can make it simple.
Have you ever had that feeling that something isn’t quite right? A nebulous sense of impending doom that goes beyond mere anxiety? In real life these feelings are pretty unpleasant, but think about the last novel you read that set off the alarm on your sixth sense. That vague suspicion of trouble in the air most likely created a delicious anticipation for the next chapter. In fact, what’s really satisfying is when you can’t quite put your finger on why you sense dark clouds ahead. It seems the atmosphere of the story infused you with foreboding and tension while you weren’t looking. And before you know it, the author has you right where they want you.
Hooked and hungry for more.
If you’re a writer, you have a vision. Possibly you daydream about hitting it big with fame and money like Tom Clancy or Stephen King, or you want a cult following that develops into a huge fan base like Neil Gaiman or Chuck Palahniuk.
Or maybe you see yourself sitting in a quiet room writing poetry like Emily Dickinson, your genius talent never to be discovered in this lifetime.