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YOU CAN’T EDIT A BLANK PAGE

FEAR. How would you know if you wouldn’t? As you walk closer to the coast, you look into the vastness of the ocean and ask, “What if it’s too cold?” The feel on your feet changes with every step you take. From dry, powdery sand, you notice your feet start to sink into a wet, mushy surface. You stop right where the water will not reach your feet enough to wash them ashore. Will you get your feet wet, or will you keep wondering?

fear

FUN. We, humans, tend to overthink things. Sometimes, when we listen to fear and obey it, we deprive ourselves of the chance to learn or master something we want to be good at. This is one of the things I have learned about creative writing. At first, it was fun. The words come out so naturally that I could create a complete story in less than an hour. I continued writing even when I knew I would eventually run out of something to say or write about. I wasn’t worried about it. Like a child given a box of crayons, I’d use all the colors to draw, even when they don’t make sense because they don’t have to. I was doing it for fun—until it wasn’t anymore.

FACE YOUR FEAR FOR FUN REWARDS.

Lines and circles will eventually bore you. Doing the same thing over and over again will either compel you to learn how to form new shapes or stop drawing altogether. But you wouldn’t just drop something you love, would you? You looked around your surroundings and saw a flower. You decided it’s the next thing you would like to draw. Even with your fear of not knowing how to draw one, you picked a crayon and started drawing a line, then a couple of circles until you formed an object that resembles a flower’s corolla and leaves. You knew it would take multiple attempts to create an image similar to the flower you saw. You put some determination into every stroke. You heard fear brewing, but you didn’t listen to it when it said, ‘you don’t know how to do it. You can’t do it, so just stop.

PUT IN THE HOURS. Helen Keller once said, “We can do anything we want if we stick to it long enough.” Our journey towards mastery and greatness does not end by just facing our fears. When we already know that we won’t just drop something we love to do out of fear, the next thing we have to face is our drive to keep doing it—to keep the fire burning. Our willingness to show up over and over again could spell the difference between mastery and mediocrity. We can’t be masters of anything if we just do it for fun. We have to put in the hours to perfect what we want to do. When it gets boring, well… boredom is a symptom of mastery.

LET YOUR FREAK FLAG FLY.

Whether at work or school, when we let ourselves succumb to the fear of not being good at what we do or not knowing how to do something, just remember that fear is an emotion that doesn’t exist anywhere but in our minds. It is momentary. It is fleeting. They should never be the basis of whether we’ll do something or not. Show up. Do one thing every day that scares you. Remember how drawing made you feel when you were younger. Remember that the water is only cold on your first dip. The longer you stay in it, the lesser you feel it’s cold.

If you are scared to write because you fear your writing will not be good enough, write anyway. If it turns out to be as bad as you expect, edit it. Keep editing until you are satisfied. What matters is you didn’t let yourself be intimidated by fear. That’s way better than not showing up or not doing anything. After all, you can’t edit a blank page. In the end, your work is only either great or making you great, so carry on.

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