One of the things I’ve noticed lately is that amidst the pandemic I’ve started worrying a ton about very small things.
Tiny intricacies of my business. Whether I should have used this or that word in an email. Whether I took too long to respond to a text.
I have plenty of big things to worry about! But for some reason these little nuisances are the things that keep me up at night.
It’s almost like my brain is grasping to find things to worry about that are actually within my control. All of my stress about the gigantic stuff that’s out of my hands is being dumped onto things that really don’t merit the weight.
On the one hand, this is a recipe for feeling super crazy. I know these aren’t things I would be worrying about in a more normal time and that disconnect can be maddening.
On the other hand… it’s actually kind of useful. It’s motivating me to make changes that will hopefully improve my business and make me a better person.
Fears can be useful
One of the things I learned when I was writing the Jacob Wonderbar series was that fear can be a really useful tool.
I feared being someone who never pursued their dreams. I feared I wasn’t good enough.
Those fears became great motivating tools. Whenever I didn’t feel like writing, I reminded myself that I would forever regret it if I didn’t do it. Whenever I sensed what I was writing wasn’t good enough, I edited the heck out of it and kept working extremely hard to improve my craft.
Some fears are good. There’s something to them, and your anxiety may well push you to improve and be better.
The danger of indulging fears and using them as a motivational tool is that we have a strange tendency to make them come true.
For a long time I feared I wasn’t a creative person. And that just… became true for as long as I indulged that fear.
Instead of indulging fears I try to remind myself to harness the fear. They’re useful, I tell myself. They come from somewhere. Use them. Just don’t give in.
Easier said than done. And honestly, I’m writing this post today because I need this reminder right now as much as anyone who’s reading it.
What’s your strategy for beating back the fear in your life? How are you managing your stress these days?
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Art: The Great Wave at Kanagawa by Nishimura Yohachi