There have been few times when I thought, "Dang, this is pretty scary." The first time I watched Arachnophobia--that was traumatic. When I looked out of the plane at 13,000 feet, I kept telling myself that smart people don't voluntarily do this. It turned out to be one of the coolest things I'd ever tried.
There was the time I packed up and went to New Hampshire, and then to Scottsdale, to attend culinary school, and when I got there I kept having to convince myself that it wasn't a foolish academic choice. I met a lot of amazing people at school, and one of the dearest friends I've ever known still keeps in touch from Ireland.
There are a lot of things we can think are frightening, but I've discovered that once you get over the initial fear, possibilities open up. When I left behind all of my friends in Idaho to move to Montana, I was certain I wouldn't like it. Then I saw the Swan Mountain Range and I knew I'd found home.
Before I went to Scotland, I thought myself fairly adept at handling a manual car, but then I had to do it left-handed on the wrong side of the road. All around me the cars zoomed past, and one annoyed driver looked over and laughed because apparently I was driving way below the speed limit. I kept thinking that if I was going to get in a car wreck, at least I could stay in Scotland longer. But something else happened--I figured out it wasn't so scary, and when that happened, the world opened up. I grinned the whole way up to my hotel in the Highlands.
Writers aren't immune to fear, especially when it comes to their writing. We take a leap and hope that someone, somewhere, will love what we do. It can be frightening, but just past the fear is exhilaration, because we've realized it's not that scary. Sometimes it can kick us down, but bumps and bruises come with any good ride.
We can always find a "good" reason not to do the things we long to do: follow dreams, go on a grand adventure, fall in love--but then consider what you're missing.
Do you want to be a writer? Then do whatever it takes to become a great writer. You'll trip, you'll fall, you'll write some books you never want anyone to read, but then you'll have a moment when you know you've arrived. It could take years, it could take fifty books, but you'll never know unless you write the first forty-nine.
What's one thing you've longed to do, but something always stands in the way?