Stage fright is a master of disguise that has been perfected over many centuries of existence. Quite similar to the survival of the cockroach. If not conquered it definitely multiplies and creates an infestation of disappointment.
It starts small; an annoying, nagging feeling that churns deep within your gut. Whispering. Pushing. Invading. Until it takes hold of your mind. Causing you to retreat inside yourself. Shutting the door and ignoring opportunity. The disappointment from stage fright can linger unresolved for years. Time encourages it's strength, until it becomes so strong that you are unable to carry the burden. Causing you to struggle. Instinctively, many of us absorb the weight until it begins to define who you are.
Running through your veins like a disease.
My Three Tools
In some aspects, I continue to harbor the shy tendencies from my childhood. Timid and not wanting to face new things. The only difference is that now I recognize it and refuse to let it win. Awareness, confidence, and strength are the tools I have gained through relationships, life, and with age.
During my twenties, my view of life was small. My focus was hazy. I survived one day to the next. Relishing in the small victories. Raising kids, working and secretly learning from my experiences. In my early 30's, I began to agonize about the past. The idea of a "re-do" ran a whirlwind through my thoughts, allowing regret to take the reins of my life.
I was on my own imaginary carousel. Holding tight to that sparkly, pink pony. Circling possibilities, but never wanting to let go long enough to seize the opportunities. Ideas of going back to school and better job opportunities distracted me from living. My soundtrack became hypnotic melody of misplaced ambitions.
After several trips around, I began to notice my loved ones, looking on from the outside. Watching me pass by. they would wave, then continue on with their lives. I was just a figure passing by. A glimmer of someone living under the spell of fixing the past.
Overnight, my surroundings turned stagnant. Old. Faded. The brightly painted ponies no longer held the magical appeal from before.
The background music turned to distorted notes of warning: GET OFF!
Overcoming My Fear
I write about my fears. Writing them out and sharing them is my way of staying off that carousel of regret. This blog was a MAJOR turning point for me. Sharing my shortcomings, fears, and words with the world-wide web was a risk. One I needed to take.
Stage fright be damned, I am going to keep writing. No matter who reads each post. No matter if it is only serves as a journal - the release of these words helps me keep a promise.
A declaration to kick stage fright in the ass.
Check out my Connections page.
Now... about my novel. This is another HUGE risk for me. With each scene that makes it into a word file, I realize how much I have to learn about the process. Amazingly this does not intimidate me anymore, but It fuels to the fire.
My local RWA Chapter (SARA) has helped me keep the embers going. There is no greater fuel for a fledgling writer, than the support of fellow writers. It took me a while to branch out and be comfortable with other writer's in the group. The accomplishments with publishing and marketing their work intimidated me. I never fully engaged in the camaraderie that was being offered. My stage fright was threatening a comeback
Don't worry. I did not give in.
A month ago, a knock sounded at the door of opportunity. And luckily, I answered. I learned about a small group of writers (within my RWA/SARA Group ) who lived outside the city limits. (Apparently I am not alone in BFE.) Due to inconvenient distance, each one of us faced the dilemma of not being able to attend some of the regular events, such as write-ins.
Driving to the first meet up, I was nervous since I didn't know these women except from our Facebook chats. Hoping for the best, I showed up with my laptop, an open mind, and muffins.
Locking away my anxiety, I stepped across a threshold that was unfamiliar to me. ( I figured, if my writing sucked - at least I had the muffins. Who doesn't love muffins, right?) Turns out that by stepping through this writer's doorway, I began another exciting leg of my crazy journey. The support and knowledge everyone there offered was inspiring. They provided me the encouragement to keep writing.
Four weeks have passed since that first meeting and we are still writing strong and gaining inspiration from one another. I look forward to discussing plot ideas and other technical aspects with these fellow writers.
Fighting my stage fright, helped expand my book's possibilities and allow me to grow as a writer. In the end, it is me, who has to write this damn book. It is me, who needs to figure out what is best for the story. But, with other's support and encouragement - the ride is much more enjoyable.