I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I'm afraid. Very afraid.



It’s October 31st and I am terrified. I feel the same way every year when this day rolls around. I’m not afraid of the ghouls and goblins that will be roaming the streets bargaining for treats; the fact that today is Halloween has absolutely no bearing on my fear.
I fear the last day of October every year because it’s the day before November begins.
As the clock strikes midnight on Halloween night, NationalNovel Writing Month begins, and with it, all the fear and anxiety I have semi-effectively kept buried all year long bursts forth like a geyser. NaNoWriMo reminds me that I am a writer, but at the same time it seems to shine a giant spotlight on how very little writing I’ve done since last year’s NaNoWriMo. I’m pretty sure November comes around a little faster every year, and I suddenly realize all the things I planned to do to prepare for NaNoWriMo haven’t gotten done. I haven’t finished plotting in my Book Buddy. I haven’t figured out what lie my heroine believes.  I haven’t even stocked my freezer with meals for my family.  
I’m not ready.
And yet, here we are. Mere hours until my thirty day writing odyssey begins and I’m already feeling like a failure. I find myself wondering if I even have what it takes to be a “real” writer. Then I remember Pat’s Monday post. She began it with a Bible verse, Psalm 37:4.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Delight. Not fear. In fact, God tells us in 2 Timothy that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. A sound mind. Not a mind that is in total freak-out mode, flooded with anxiety and self-doubt.
H. Jackson Brown says, “Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.”
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, and those are all the qualities I want, I need, to do what God has called me to do. I believe I am called to write. But as long as I’m dwelling on all the things I cannot do, I am missing all the things God can. (Thank you, Pat!!)
Jesus told us in John 15 that “the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine; neither can you, unless you abide in me.” So, I think that instead of fearing the dawn of November, I will go out on a limb, delight myself in the Lord, and grab all the fruit I can carry!
~Heidi Larson Geis

26 comments:

  1. Heidi, great post. Wishing you success on NaNo. You can do it! As I waited not-so-patiently sometimes on God to act, I was reminded that He said not to worry and stress. If He feeds the birds who neither sow nor reap, He will take care of us. But you'll notice He didn't put the feed in the bird's nest...they had to go out and get it. Same thing with us...we have our part to do--writing.

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  2. Great post, Heidi. You. Can. Do. It! That verse is one of my all time faves. It's reminded me many time of where my focus needs to be. In fact it's doing that today. So thanks for sharing it.

    I tried NaNo for the first time last year. I loved it! This year, I am determined to revise my book and to finish it. So, I'll probably do a personal "NaNo" sometime next year to launch my next story. :) I hope your month is fruitful--writing-wise and life-wise.

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  3. Yes, Heidi, go out on that limb and write as many words as you can, in whatever snatches of time you can find. Don't worry whether you'll reach 50,000 words or not. (You probably won't.) But you'll feel satisfied, if not thrilled, with forward motion on your story. Like you say to your boys, "Just do your best."

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  4. I am trying it again this year!! Yes, it is scary to think of writing all those words DAILY...but it is also so much fun!

    I will be rooting you on all the way. You can do it, Heidi!!

    God bless. :)

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  5. Great post! (Thanks for sharing, Ruth.) I'm doing nanowrimo for the first time officially, although last year I committed with my critique group to do a 'half marathon' - 25,000 words in a month. By the end of November with 25,000 words, I had the confidence to go on to finish my draft in mid January, then edit it 6 times, and pitch it to agents at a writing conference. I'm excited to do it again - but yes, the fear is palpable!

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    1. **I just realized I can reply directly to everyone who comments on my post. So, for everyone who commented before Dana, my replies are below, lol.

      Thank you, Dana! I love hearing that you took your NaNo start and turned it into something you could pitch. That is exactly what I hope to do! It is exhilarating to complete that much of a manuscript, and NaNo is the perfect way to get that jump start. Good luck!!

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  6. The great thing about NaNoWriMo is you can just write! You need to muzzle your inner critic and allow your creativity to flow on the page. No judgment. No perfection needed. You can do this, Heidi.

    NaNo is a great exercise in discipline too.

    This year I'm getting up early and working on my Nano novel, then editing my current novel in the evenings. Because my writing time is so limited, I need to make the best use of my time.

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    1. Lisa~

      You've met my inner critic, right? She is so incredibly loud and bossy. I'm trying to figure out where to put her for the next month. =)

      I think we all know, based on my previous October posts, how much I love NaNoWriMo. But for the past couple of years, life and brain injury have kept me from focusing on my writing. Like I said in another comment, this past year has been turbulent, but I finally feel like it's settling down and my focus is returning. Writing this post was extremely therapeutic and this afternoon, I am excited for the month (and year) ahead. My goals are set and my family is cheering me on.

      You amaze me, Lisa. You have so much going on, and yet you get so much done. I am inspired by all you have accomplished. Thank you for always being such a solid source of encouragement!!

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  7. Psalm 37:4--one of my favorite verses ever!

    I'm not officially doing NaNo, but I have my own writing goals this month--and if I meet them, I'll be writing upwards of 50,000 words, too. So I can empathize with everyone who is doing it. Hope you find a bazillion ways to delight as you write, Heidi!

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    1. Melissa~

      I know you will meet your goals. And I look forward to finally getting to read the rest of the story you shared with us in 2009.

      Thank you for the encouragement. I am going to make myself a sign and hang it over my desk. It will say:
      "FIND A BILLION WAYS TO DELIGHT AS YOU WRITE!!"

      That is a beautiful sentiment, and I need to be reminded to love what I'm doing and enjoy the journey...because God is in control and has a plan. But, like Pat said, the sparrows have to go and get the food He provides. So, up and at'em!!

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  8. Great application connection, Heidi. I share your fear, having completed that mad scramble last year, so I know what it takes, and like everyone else, have lots of other commitments, too. I'll be praying for you as I feel my own writing muscles stretch and (sometimes) scream.

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    1. Thanks, Dee! We don't have to be afraid because God has given us power, love, and a sound mind. (I'm totally claiming that last one!!) I know you'll be praying for me just as you always do. I appreciate your prayers, and I will pray for you as well!

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  9. So loved this post, Heidi!

    I have a confession: I've never done NaNoWriMo. Ever.

    Not sure I ever will. I'm a VERY slow writer and the pressure and time NaNo takes is too overwhelming on top of working on my novel. I go deep into my characters. I pray for them, I seek God on their behalf so the thought of NaNo is just too much.

    I'm probably one of the few writer's who think that way. I encourage others to do it. I am so proud of each one that takes the plunge. I think it's awesome! I love the fact that it comes every year. I cheer you all on as I plug away at my novel sloooowly. Blessings on you all.

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    1. Ginger~

      I completely understand your process. I love that you pray for your characters and spend so much time working on them. I took a class from Steven James (The Pawn) and his process is similar. NaNoWriMo isn't for everyone. If I had an actual work in progress, I'd want to focus on it rather than participating. It's good to know I have you cheering me on!!

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  10. Go for it Heidi! But don't forget to sign up for the MBT WriMo event as well!

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    1. Thank you for the reminder, Jennie!! I love the MBT WriMo event. It's so much fun. I will sign up for it this afternoon. Are you doing NaNoWriMo?

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  11. Pat~

    Every time one of the Ponderers posts a news of a contract or agent signing, it inspires me! Your big wins are little wins for me, but oddly enough, my husband told me last night as I wrote my post that he thinks I'm less afraid of failure and more afraid of success. He might be right, because fellow Ponderer successes, while inspiring, also make me nervous. But for some reason, your good news and blog post didn't scare me. In fact, I think they were just what I needed to motivate me and get me excited about writing again. I refuse to allow fear to keep me from being in God's plan. I just needed a little reminder. =)

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  12. Loved this Heidi! Perfect for Halloween! Someone told me once that "fear not" is in the Bible over 365 times--plenty enough for once a day!

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    1. Teri~

      I'm glad you caught the correlation!! I purposely signed up for the 31st because I wanted to write about fear and writing. The fact that NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow made it all the more perfect.

      I'd forgotten that there are all those verses in the Bible. I might have to find some of them to help me to move forward. Thanks for the reminder!!

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  13. Jeanne~

    I did my first NaNo in 2008, before I was really serious about writing. I hadn't attended any conferences or retreats, and had no real idea what I was doing. And yet, I completed the 50K words. It's only been since I began seriously pursuing a life in writing that I've had trouble with NaNoWriMo. But your post reminded me how excited I was that first year...I want to recapture some of that for this year. I've had a somewhat turbulent year, but I think it's beginning to even out, and my focus is returning. I'm feeling oddly confident that this will be my year (2013) to bring a completed manuscript to ACFW. And I hope you are there, because I've known you, virtually, for a couple of years...I'd really like to meet you in person!! You deserve a great big hug for all the times you've encouraged me over the years!

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    1. Heidi, I'll be praying for you this month. And I'll be expecting that hug--I guarantee you it'll be a bear hug. :) I can hardly wait to meet you. :)

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    2. Thank you, Jeanne!! Me too!! I will use the thought of that bear hug to spur me on! =)

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  14. Roxanne~

    That is exactly what I'm going to do! I NEED that forward motion, and I appreciate your reminder to encourage myself the same way I encourage my boys. It's funny, because my two teenagers are my biggest cheerleaders. They desperately want me to succeed. I'm not sure why exactly, but my oldest (16) has come to the place of almost nagging me to write. My boys and my husband are truly excited for me to do NaNoWriMo this year and I think they will do whatever they need to do to help me succeed. And like you said, my success will not be reaching a word count, but writing something every day and moving forward in whatever way I can. Thank you for permission (and reminding me to give myself permission) to not hit 50K words, but to focus instead on the thrill of moving closer to my ultimate goal.

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  15. Ruth~

    Fear is a pretty powerful weapon that Satan uses against us to keep us from being obedient to God. It has been especially effective on me, lol. But writing this post made me sort of face the fear, and all of the comments and encouragements reminded me that I'm not alone in this journey, and that God is bigger and more powerful than anything I fear. I'll be rooting for you as well!! WE CAN DO IT!!

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  16. You can do it this year -- and I'm diving in too. Fast-drafting a new novel. We'll cheer each other on!

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