Writing 101: A Quote On Fear

… I fear letting those I love down, letting myself down. …

There’s a picture that hangs in my office. The full quote is kind of long, so I’ll include it in length down below. This passage though, this one speaks back to why I started writing 101. This is my motivator. This drives me. When it hurts too much, when I feel despair and resignation looming, when the desire is waning – I fear.

Fear is a strong motivator. I’m certain that there must be countless studies on the subject and most of them are probably pretty boring, so don’t look for exerts here. What I remember most about the study of fear through school was that it helped in creating the fight or flight response. That’s what we’re going to take a quick dive in to explore. Don’t worry I’ll try not to be as boring as those silly studies.

I think we all have the basic grasp on the concept of fight or flight. Just in case, let me paint a scene for you.

You’re walking down main street and the clouds overhead are threatening rain. You can see your building starting to materialize into recognizable form within the concrete jungle and you sigh in relief. Finally, a warm shower and a cup of tea. The soft glow of your monitor awaits with the WordPress Reader full of new adventure. (I mean, who doesn’t have this on constantly, right?)

You hear thunder and look up at the steel grey sky, pleading that it doesn’t unleash the fury trapped within until your safely home. But then it rumbles again, and this time you realize that it’s not the sky. No. It’s closer. It’s a familiar sound but, different somehow.

Sensing fear approaching, your mind switches gears and moves on to Sparkles. Your tabby cat, whose probably knocked over the aloe plant that you keep by the living room window. You wonder if the dirt is going to stain the carpet this time when the connection is made. It wasn’t thunder you heard, it was a cat.

You start rationalizing with yourself. Telling yourself that no cat can growl like thunder. Not here, not in the concrete jungle. But it’s too late now, the chain in your mind has slipped off the gears. Fear is in control now and it freezes your feet to the pavement. You hear the rumble again and see the grill of teeth hurtling towards you . . . What do you do? Fight, Flight, or Freeze?

This paints the stereotypical life threatening event that is sure to trigger the response. What about other fears though? The ones that won’t kill us, but make us really uncomfortable. What about them?

What about the blank screen (or blank paper) when you’re trying really hard to put something meaningful down? Scary seeing all that white, isn’t it? As a blogger this is the easiest one for me to relate too. If we step back though and look at the generalities of it all. Fear freezes and causes flight in normal people doing normal stuff everyday.

Heights! Another popular fear inducing event. I recently climbed a ladder to get on to the roof of my two story house. Going up was okay. Swinging my foot back over the edge, my toe searching for the ladder rung though, at that moment I was afraid. Now, thankfully I was able to overcome that fear and get down. Not everyone would have. The fear would have kept them there.

Fear can be a powerful motivator. I think that is why I like this so much.what do i fear

My brother was the one who initially introduced me to this picture and I’ve held on to it since. If it motivates you feel free to print it off and stick it in a dollar store frame. That’s all I did, and it works wonderfully.

Until next time my friends,


12 thoughts on “Writing 101: A Quote On Fear

  1. Nice post, Nick!
    I would like to quote Spencer Johnson here, “He knew some fear should be respected, as it can keep you out of real danger. But he realized most of his fears were irrational and had kept him from changing when he needed to.”

  2. I enjoyed reading this really wonderful post for a number of reasons. I like that the scene is thrilling and descriptive. I like the addition of “freeze” in the responses. I like how genuine the passage is. The fears described are real fears people face everyday. Those fears include some of mine. What I like most was how you described fear as a powerful motivator. I usually think of fear as an enemy, as something you fight or suppress. I never really thought of it as a friend that helps you. This reminds me to own my fears, to really feel them, and use them as motivation.

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