Disarming the Bomb – The Courage in Hitting Publish

Sometimes when I watch the flicker of the cursor on a blank page, I cannot help but hear the time ticking away to its rhythm, tick-tock, tick-tock. I created this blog three days ago, but I have been impotent in all my attempts at a first post. I spent hours deciding which hosting site to use, trying out different themes, and googling blogging tips–otherwise known as procrastinating.  Yet, when it came time to write, which is what I love to do, my one true passion, I could not perform. Tick-tock. What happens when the time runs out?

The bomb goes off, of course. The only other possible meaning (in my head) is that the cookies are done, but you are more likely to see an explosion than me baking, so for me, the timer is always a connected to a bomb. Of course, no one gets hurt if I don’t post anything. In fact, no one is really affected but me. Besides, the bomb has a failsafe. I can stop the cursor and pause the timer, simply by shutting my laptop and ending my writing session. No harm done. No chance of being subject to rejection, ridicule, or attacks by the grammar police due to silly typos. No risk taken. Nothing to fear. Now, we have discovered the power source of the bomb and what keeps that cursor ticking — fear.

Fear is the father of all excuses. Fear keeps us stagnant. Fear fosters weakness and murders passion.  Fear will cripple our dreams, and worst of all, fear will make us think it was our idea.  So how do we overcome it?  How does one disarm the bomb?

To overcome fear, you must first identify it then acknowledge it. This is really easy for a writer to do. I’m going to do it right here, right now:

I am afraid people won’t like what I write.

Whoa.  Did I really just say that? Did you see what I did there? I identified the specific fear that was keeping me from writing and acknowledged it in less that ten words. Fear of rejection is my greatest fear, but fear of failure or fear of public speaking could be yours. Luckily, all three of these fears have the same weakness, and that weakness is something everyone has in their arsenal:  courage.

All it takes to flush out fear and disarm the bomb is courage. Just typing, “I am afraid,” is easy, the hard part comes when I hit “publish.” Putting myself out there is a risk. There will always be people out there who will not like me, but I hope to find that even some of those who do not like my content or style will appreciate my honesty. It takes courage to be honest, and honesty generates loyalty. Loyalty means more readers. It would easy to pretend to write ironically and that I am above wanting readers. It takes courage to admit that I am writing for a purpose. I am writing because I love it, but also because I would like to one day make money doing what I love.

With two statements, one acknowledging the fear that was getting in the way of my writing and one stating the purpose of my writing, I have disarmed my bomb, and I am almost ready to publish this post. Yet, the cursor is still blinking. I thought the bomb was disarmed? The thing is, I can only temporarily shut it down. Fear will come creeping back, in the form of feedback and comments and new posts, but after I have wrangled it once, I can do it again. And again. And again. For the rest my life, I will battle and dance with fear, until we are more friends than adversaries. One day, the timer really will run out, and I will thank fear for motivating me to have the courage to hit “publish” this first time.

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