What are F.E.A.R.S?

Journey to the Unknown

Freaked Emotions AMUCK Ruling Sense

Staring a new project or hiking an unfamiliar path doesn’t always imply fun and without concern.  Little things like deciding red or white, chicken or fish, we do without consideration.  Larger things like saying I do or hitting SUBMIT can’t be measured on the same scale. It doesn’t matter where or what is waiting at the end of the trail, it’s the first step that can render the strongest person immobile.  We hesitate. Dally. Linger with absolute intent. Whine and whimper.  Buy one-size-fits-all dreams (and are puzzled when it doesn’t fit). Howl to the moon.  Cry on the shoulder of the first person to make eye contact.  Fizzle brilliantly.

Finally, when we’ve accomplished all that doesn’t need to be done and there is only you in the recesses of your mind, alone in the dark, do you swallow your pride and confront what you know you must do. You hope for the worst, pray for the best and in the last possible second beg the celestial heavens for a strong tail wind, and finally take a tentative step into the unknown.

As you’re in freefall your evil alter ego cackles:

You don’t know what you’re doing.

You’re going to fall face first into failure

You’re going to hover three feet above ground and then fail.

You’re not going to soar and sail into bliss.


As I sit here on my own precipice with my feet dangling over the edge, I consider my plan.

What plan?

 I hate it when my alter ego wakes from my subconscious and speaks to me during the light of day.

One of us has to be awake since you’re wearing rose-colored glasses and spouting Ray Kinsella.  Build it and they will come. What the hell are you yammering about, woman? 

And on it goes within. I’ve declared previously of my propensity to rush into life without so much as second glance. I cross against the lights, throw out the fine print and spit into the wind without ducking. Either I am crazy or I have innate survival skills hardwired into my genetic code. I choose to believe it’s a 30/70 allocation. I also believe good begets good and if I damn well build it, something will come. My it  is the writing of a novel.

Never, not one single instance during all those rewrites and nights I was up at 3AM sipping cold tea did I ever consider a rejection slip. I shudder even typing the word.  I suggest it be banished from all dictionaries far and wide.  Now as my Herman Munster’s swing freely over the edge, I confront the possibility. OUCH!

What if <insert word>, occurs?

Are you going to fall face first into failure? Possibly.

Are you going to hover three feet above ground before failure? Possibly.

Are you going to soar and then crash dive into failure? Again, possibly.

Or are you going to give it everything you have just because you can and believe in yourself and not worry about the result?  Damn straight, I am going to rush over to the edge, close my eyes and jump. 

OK, wicked alter ego, I’ve considered the possibility of non success. I control my fate as I control what is coming.  My life, my canvas, my destiny, my outcome is mine to determine.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Don’t come crying to me later.


There is no reason to dally or put off what awaits me. I haven’t a clue where I am going, what I am going to do when I arrive or if I will be invited. Yes, the unknown is scary and terrifying, but it’s also exhilarating. It’s such a rush to have come this far.  I never thought I’d survive the last rewrite, but I did. And yes, my freaked emotions are amuck and ruling my sense.  I’ll overcome myself, as I always have (as well do, eventually).

After all, F.E.A.R.S turned upside down truly are:








Does your alter ego sometimes bully you?

writing prompt:   Here’s how you do it

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I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

42 thoughts on “What are F.E.A.R.S?

  1. Absolutely! I have days where I think my writing is awful and I’ll never sell the MS I’m working on. I have to punch my alter ego in the face and remind myself that it will take a lot of work, but I can get there eventually. I’ve had the other extreme too where I think something is so good, but then I get a reality check. I try to be realistic as much as possible. As I told you be realistic but hopeful. That works best for me.

    • Oh, I am, Kelly. I had to consider all options, first, touch the ground, and be ready for whatever comes my way. It’s good straddle both fields of possibility as you have said..

  2. This is the pattern of life Brenda, and it seems to me that sometimes when I’ve taken a swinging leap of faith it hasn’t always turned out as well as I hoped. Try you must though, otherwise what’s the point of existence? You’ve put so much blood, sweat and tears into your novel also that it would be criminal if you DIDN’T submit it (I presume this is what you are speaking about.) Stick your nose in the air and pretend it’s the last of a series!

    • Elizabeth – There is no hesitation on my part. Whatever is ahead of me is mine to claim. But I’d not be me if I didn’t write what runs through my mind at different turns. I quite enjoy exploring all corners of the psyche. And you’re right, not everything we do works out like we wish it would, but heck, we be boring if all we had to write about are success stories.

  3. Oh yes! These fears are common to women, especially if you’re a writer. All have doubts and fears. But you’ve inspired us here to rise above them all!

  4. I love that you take the leap despite everything. The alternative, to not write, is unthinkable. You control your own direction and destiny. Those niggling little voices? Aren’t all that.

    • Maria – as you have. I thought about you this morning as I was on my 3 mile walk. It is something I do for my body, but really the walking is for my writer’s soul. It keeps my mind clear as well keeping my legs strong. (and yes, those voices are just that..)

  5. This was a great read, Brenda! Yes, my alter ego gets to me. I argue with it all the time (out loud too; scary, huh?) I have the perfect picture that I am going to try to send you somehow, to go with this story.

    • Linda… I am behind in reading and commenting this weekend.. I know you sent me a link (haven’t looked yet) but on my way over in a bit. I suspect we all have a bit of the dark side in us, it pushes us forward. The trick of course is not to allow it to win.

  6. I think my alter-ego is the weaker, whinier one. She doesn’t bully me but she whimpers and sucks energy from me. But I know she’s a terrified child I’d need to comfort, so that eventually she’d be on my side, too. (Is that possible, I wonder?)

  7. Sometimes I feel it. Like now. I’ve been working on a book proposal and it’s so overwhelming on times and I’m ready to throw in the towel, give up. I think I’m afraid that I’m not going to be able to finish it, or that I have nothing of consequence to say. But, then I keep at it, like an ant pushing a loaf of bread up a hill. Slowly but surely…

    • Monica – I assume because you are writing a proposal it means you’re writing a memoir. I know how you feel about getting through a piece of writing you don’t enjoy. I think all the time I should sell my writing services but when I go look I am think.. oh, I can’t write stuff like that.. it’s not me, not my voice, etc;., I would happily write a lover’s advice column or love letters, but sadly no one is hiring for those skill sets. My suggestion to you.. is to give yourself a deadline to write the proposal. Caveat, don’t think about what’s in it.. just write and write until your finished and then you can edit away and work with someone objective.. if you haven’t done this already. I’d offer my help but the word proposal gives me a stomach ache.

      • Thanks, Brenda. Yes, it is for a memoir. And I have a good friend, a published writer, who is giving me lots of input. What’s getting me stuck is the synopsis and the chapter outline. Sigh.

        • Monica, I feel your anguish. I hated writing those pieces. I love writing, but this sort of writing pains me to no end. I’ve had great support from Kelly Hashway . It helps having someone to talk through how tos and other stuff you never knew you didn’t know. WHEN I get to the other side and I am seasoned (she is thinking positively) I would do the same to another – share what I learned and help if I could. You’re strong (based on what I’ve read and learned through your words).

    • Linda.. if there is anyone who I would consider a role model it’s you. Your work with the children.. and your stories. You are one who looks life in the face and does.

  8. Brilliantly expressed, Brenda! We all struggle with that “evil voice” that wants to drag us down and make us doubt ourselves and our strengths. I love how you’ve given us all a new and positive way to address “fears”.
    May you, and may we all, overcome all obstacles that stand in the way of our success!
    Blessings to you!

    • Hey Martha, they are only words. It is a wonder how strong they can be depending on how we use them.. I am feeling fearless these days, but can easily become immobile. I needed a little mantra to keep me moving.

  9. ** Fizzle brilliantly.**
    This stood out in bold.
    If I’m rejected, dismissed, devoured, or depreciated… this is how I want to respond: Brilliantly.
    Brenda, you continually set me on fire w/ your insight, voice, & the power of your words.

    Thank you… Xxx

    • You know, Kim, I don’t think receiving a rejection letter ever gets easy regardless of how much we arm ourselves. I saw Joyce Carol Oats speak a couple of years ago.. she is published and established and she talked about her circle of writers friends had a running joke on which one of them would be rejected by the New Yorker… And she and her friends are hefty in the literary world. Rejection happens and it sucks..I will likely need to retreat to a spa for rest and solitude at some point. :-) Hugs to you sweetie.

  10. Brenda, I love how you confront your alter ego! We should all do the same because nobody likes a bully! I will not allow my alter ego to bully me around but I’ll admit that it does like to rear its ugly head every now and then. I guess this has to do with the fact that we’re human and much as we want to believe that we’re fearless, it’s inevitable. Good for us that we too can be relentless and brave; that we can tell our bully alter ego to take a hike! :)

  11. I would not be human if I did not feel fear.. There have been moments where I have stood frozen because of fear and then there are those moments where I have soared because of fear….
    Fear is slowly becoming my friend!

    • Girl with a new life.. there is a certain spring in one’s step reaching the place where you are now.. It’s work, but not an harsh work, more of engaging in something your truly want to do. Enjoy!

  12. June O'Hara

    I love reading about how you confront your demons. Writing — really putting yourself out there — is scary. I’m anxious every time I hit “publish.” and I have moments of discouragement. I just try to keep my eye on the ball.

    As always, I love your imagination and use of language.

    • Miss June – I tend to get scared after the fact. Up until the moment I naturally assume it’s rainbows and happy days. Then … the dreaded OMG what the heck was I thinking sets it. Crazy, most definitely.

  13. What an inspiring blog post. I’ve been thinking about this propensity to second guess myself, and how I’m always my own worst enemy. I stop myself before I start and naysay myself out of action. What results is a perpetual paralysis. It’s only in the last year that I’ve been nudging, no, shoving myself into movement. And it’s always a pleasant surprise what comes of it.

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