Perhaps one of my greatest strengths – and the chief reason why I’ve been able to move toward recovery from a life of emotional abuse – is because I have the ability to take a hard look at my life, identify the things that scare me … and run straight toward them, sword drawn.
It dawned on me a long time ago that if you keep running from your dragons, you’ll always be afraid of them. You’ll never have the opportunity to find out if they’re are as scary as they seem, or if they’re really stronger than you are.
But if you rush your fears head-on, in full battle gear, you create the opportunity to challenge your dragons – and destroy them.
The greatest test I’ve ever endured was my fear of family. As far as I knew, family were people who used you – who drank you like a glass of wine – until you were empty, then wiped their mouths and called for more. After I’d escaped my past, I vowed to never let family near me again.
Then, in a numbing twist of irony, life offered me a surrogate family. My first instinct was to run. But this new family offered me the one thing I’d never quite had before; the only thing I’d ever wanted my entire life: a dad. My own father had died when I was two, and I had no memory what it felt like to be loved and protected by a strong, gentle father.
It was the greatest dare of my life, in exchange for the greatest reward. And after weeks of dragons breathing down my neck, keeping me penned into a corner of fear … I accepted the challenge. I rushed it head-on … and asked these new people to be my adoptive family.
The fact that they are still my family speaks volumes. Ever since my adoption, I’ve been battling dragons one-by-one, sometimes on a daily basis. But the dragons are growing smaller in number. And I never would have thinned their ranks if I’d run from my new family, instead of towards them.
The entire story is included in journal excerpts in my book for writers, journal keepers, and anyone looking to live a deeper life: Journaling to Become a Better Writer: Seven Ways to Practice Fiction Techniques. The ebook is available now at the links below, and the print edition is coming out in September. (Click here if you want to know when the print edition becomes available!
I also recommend these informative articles on facing down your fears. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
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Face Your Fear: The Result Might Be Amazing by Amy Rees Anderson
“I don’t think I have ever stopped being afraid of things – but what I did was stop letting my fear stop me.”
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“The process of facing your fears in an effective, systematic way is called exposure therapy.”
“For an exposure to be effective you have to be in the fear-inducing situation long or often enough that you experience firsthand that nothing bad will happen, so your anxiety dissipates.”
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Wear It Like Armor and It Can Never Be Used to Hurt You by Craig D. Marker, Ph.D.
“[T]he biggest fear for many people with social anxiety [is] showing their true self. If they show their real selves, they feel the world will hurt them. However, if people with social anxiety ‘own’ who they are, without fear, then the world, in most cases, does not hurt them.”
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Journaling to Become a Better Writer: Seven Ways to Practice Fiction Techniques
How do you capture authenticity in your novel? That nameless spark of life that lifts your words off the page and resonates with readers in their very soul?
You delve into your own soul and learn how to pour it out onto the page, that’s how. And the best way to do that is to keep a journal. Seven techniques for your journal will help you marry the authenticity of the real world to the imaginations of your story worlds:
- How do you recognize a story worth telling?
- How do you bring structure and power to a story?
- How do you tap into your own emotions to fill your novel with heart?
- How do you hone your observation skills?
- How do you engagingly describe your world?
- How do you make your characters real?
- How do you find your unique purpose as a writer?
Not your average book on the craft of writing, the author bares pages from her own journal to illustrate her techniques and the level of storytelling skill that can be achieved in your journal. These same excerpts share the story of the most traumatic plot twist of her life: the stripping away of her family and her search for someone to finally call “Daddy” – a quest which almost claimed her life.
Part writing how-to book, part memoir, part self-discovery guide, this volume will show you what the everyday events of your life have to do with great fiction. Your life, after all, is a story.
Coming to print 2015.
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