Why Aren’t You Facing Your Fears?

no-fearI just returned from the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International conference (WPPI) in Las Vegas, and I’m over-the-moon jazzed with excitement! My fiance is a wedding photographer and I work for him part time – hence my attendance at the conference. Indeed, much of the conference was about creativity, technique, and a photographer’s unique eye. But the sessions that got me excited were the ones about creating a sustainable business.

Many of us write as a hobby. We dream about being published and writing full time someday. WPPI was full of practical advice on marketing, workflow, and customer service, but the stuff that got me thrumming with ideas were the classes that asked:

Why aren’t you facing your fears and committing to this?

If you’ve been following my Facebook or Twitter feeds, you probably read some of the following quotes as I tweeted from the conference floor. For this post, I’ve collected them together to share. And boy, do they provide one helluva kick in the pants!

The Hard Truth:

  • “You can be passionate about what you do and still suck at business. Being passionate isn’t the whole picture.” – Jeff Jochum

On Fear:

  • Fear“Fear will cause you to lose focus every time, because you’re looking at all the potential for failure, instead of concentrating on success.” – Dave Ramsey
  • “The more fear we have of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” – Steven Pressfield
  • “The only limitations are those we set up in our minds.” – Napoleon Hill
  • “Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.” – Jaleel King
  • “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it only empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom
  • “Vulnerability equals value. It shows people you’re human and real.” – WPPI
  • “Fear is an opportunity for courage. We are all afraid, which means we all have the opportunity to be courageous.” – D Park Photo
  • “Remembering you are going to die is the one way to avoid the trap of fearing you have something to lose.” – Steve Jobs
  • “Fear gives you excuses for why not. But you can give a million and one excuses for why not. Beware of everything becoming an excuse. It becomes a way to keep yourself from living.” – Jaleel King

“You can either live in your fears or live in your dreams. Most people choose to live in their fears.” – Jeff Jochum

On Compromise:

  • “If you limit your choices to what seems possible and reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want and all that’s left is compromise.” – Anais Nin

On Impostor Syndrome:

  • “When you’re an artist, nobody ever tells you or hits you with the magic wand of legitimacy. You have to hit your own head with your own handmade wand. And you feel stupid doing it.” – Amanda Palmer

Surrounding Yourself With the Right Influences:

  • “You will become the average of your 5 closest friends. It’s always easier to pull someone else down, than it is to pull them up.”
  • “Where you will be in 5 years depends on two things: the books you read and the people you hang out with.” – Zack & Jody Grey
  • “The number one enemy of learning is experience. You think you already know everything.” – Jeff Jochum

On Finding a Balance:

  • “Live in the tension of who you are and who you want to be.” – Dane Sanders
  • “Expression beats perfection.” – Bambi Cantrell
  • “What is it that makes you feel like you’re not good enough? Flip this logic. Define what you love about yourself. This changes the energy from “I’m not good enough.” to “You’re just not right for me.” When you say you’re not good enough. This is YOU rejecting You!” – Jeff Jochum”

This is only a taste of the awesomeness that was WPPI! More inspiring blog posts to come!

“Stop hiding in insecurity. Start sharing your story, and begin your legacy.” – Katelyn James

It Got Me Thinking…

State of MindI want to share three blog posts that I can’t stop thinking about. These are posts that (like a good book) I kept mulling over days after I read them. They’ve planted seeds in my mind that keep growing and growing.

There’s a theme to these posts and it’s:


How do we write when we don’t feel like we have the time or the heart? How do we keep writing with all the fear and uncertainty? How do we find the strength to be vulnerable and put the pen to the page? I’ve been struggling with my WIP lately, and I needed to hear all of these posts. Maybe you do to.

Writing Truth and Authenticity Amidst the Noise

by Jessica Denhart

My truth today is that I am afraid. From the white-hot center of myself, I am afraid that I don’t have what it takes to make my writing good enough. I am afraid, and when I am afraid, I close my eyes to my manuscript, my words, my expression of self, my creativity, and effectively cut myself off from the one thing that I know is my authentic self. All I hear is the noise of fear and self-doubt.”

Read More…photo-of-jess1

Jessica Denhart received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in January 2013. She writes YA and middle grade fiction, contemporary with a magical-realism twist. She is also a member of the SCBWI. She currently lives in the Midwest, with longings for the taste of the salt-air, the sound of the ocean waves, and the feel of sand between her toes. Read more by Jessica on her blog Between the Shadow and the Soul.  She can be found on twitter as @jessdenhart.

Creative Input and Creative Output

by Heather Strickland

I’ve come to think of creativity as a factory. Our brains are motors: if we stop fueling them, they won’t run. Or, more truthfully, if we fuel them with crap and nonsense, they’ll run like crap and nonsense. We have to feed them something delicious, something healthy, or they won’t run the way they’re supposed to.”

Read More…

Heather StricklandHeather Strickland started writing for children when she realized she was probably never going to be an adult. She moved to Brooklyn after graduating from Vermont College of Fine Arts because she heard there was a shortage of writers in Brooklyn. Now, she likes going for walks past brownstones and peering through open windows to make up stories about the people who live in fancy apartments. Follow Heather on Twitter: @StrictlyHeather

Thoughts on Being Professional

by Amy Sundberg

“I ran across an excellent article on an economics blog I follow called “Amateurs versus Professionals.” It very much applies to what I’ve observed about writing, and I imagine it holds true for many other pursuits and professions as well … After reading this list, it occurs to me that much of the difference between an amateur and a professional is a state of mind.”

Read More…

 Amy SundbergAmy Sundberg is a SF/F and YA writer. Her short fiction has appeared in Redstone Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, and Buzzy Magazine, among others. She lives in California, and when not writing, she’s either buried in a good book, singing musical theater songs, or trying to add more pins to locations visited on her world map. She is an avid blogger at practicalfreespirit.com and can be found on Twitter as @amysundberg