Thursday, March 14, 2013

Facing fear: Waves of fear

I've gone visiting today, to the blog of Jody Casella. Jody interviewed me about trunk novels, networking and time (mis)management, so please click if you're interested.

In the meantime, Alison Formento is stopping by here, with the latest guest post in my series about writers confronting fear!

Waves of fear…
by Alison Formento

I visited the ocean for the first time when I was twelve. It's a cliché, but terror gripped my insides the moment I stuck a toe into the waves off the coast of Cape Canaveral. The queasy fear churning in my gut might have been the greasy French fries we'd eaten on the car ride to the beach that day—or maybe because my dad kept humming the "da-dump, da-dump" theme music from Jaws.

I stepped deeper into the Atlantic Ocean that day, shivering as saltwater splashed against my knees. A gull swooped by, skimming across the top of the waves like the rocks I like to skip across a lake back in Arkansas.

Something clicked in me, and I let go of the fear.

That click, or release, is a feeling I still carry with me, especially when I'm drafting a new story and I'm afraid I'll never finish it—or I fear the draft won't be good enough to share, even with trusted writing friends. I may delete chapters or whole scenes. I try writing from a new perspective. I take hikes or walk along a beach. I think and talk to myself. I read. I read more.

Then—click. The fear fades.

I face the draft again and write new words, new sentences. The story moves like ocean waves. It may even soar. Fearless and free.


ALISON FORMENTO is the author of award-winning picture books This Tree Counts!,This Tree, 1, 2, 3, These Bees Count!, These Seas Count!, and the upcoming young adult novel Twigs.


  1. All writers encounter fears like what you've described. I think whenever we challenge ourselves, it can come with a measure of uncertainty. Isn't it great when you know you've made it through?