Step 1 – Fight the Normal Fears
The ones that say you’re no good at this writing thing. The fear of the judgment of others. The fear of failure. You are not unique in these fears—in fact, it’s easy to say everyone has faced them, and not just about writing. So sharpen your fear-fighting skills here. This is entry-level. This is what you have to conquer to simply get in the arena. This is not to minimize the tall wall of terror these fears can present. It is simply true that in order to begin your journey as a writer, you need to face these first. Most people do not make it past this level. Many are expert at manifesting the fears so completely that they don’t believe it’s even possible to fight them. But it is. Learn that vulnerability is courage and you’re halfway there. Understand that every creative act is a blow to fear, and you’ll be stepping into the arena in no time.
Step 2 – Learn Your Strengths
You cannot possibly know what you’re capable of until you actually step into the arena and immerse in the act of creation. It is bloody and sweaty and tears will be shed. Your tears. You will feel every one of them. Your blade will become dull with all the carving you’ll do into the very depths of your being. You will feel unmoored. You will feel triumphant. You will FEEL as if you had no clue what true emotion was before. All of this is preamble. This is you establishing who you are on the battlefield of art. What you’re made of. Where you’re starting. This is where you learn who you are, this moment, today. And grow from there.
Step 3 – Embrace Your Power
You know who you are and what you’re capable of… now, it’s time to unlock your true potential. Now is when you reach for the thing that terrifies you most. You’ll have to summon those fear-fighting skills because this is the terror of truly becoming what you’re meant to be. This is where you begin to understand there are no limits. This is where you embrace the power you have—you’ve always had—because you’re finally ready for it. And when you do, your achievement will not be measured in dollars or awards or praise—the outward measures of the world have already fallen away. You will know you’ve arrived because you’ll see there’s no destination, no end point. Just Becoming. Your deepest fear has always been this—that you have this power to draw upon—and you will have conquered that fear, making it one of the many pieces of you. Whole. Complete. For the fear is not separate from the Becoming, it is part of it. And then the unfolding that comes next will be you shining in the world, just as you are, completely your own true self.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.…”—from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “The Man in the Arena,” April 23, 1910.