Write the book, publish the blog post, kiss the boy

It seems to me that a key part of being a human is swinging, pendulum-like between love and fear.

And so often, the pendulum feels weighted towards fear.

We love to write … but our fear of failure becomes censor-in-chief.

We’d love a relationship … but our fear of rejection mutes our desires.

We’d love to travel the world / start a business / dance in the street … but our fear of breaking free from the status quo forms a huge, psychological STOP sign.

Today, I’d like to tell you a little story – well, two little stories – about what can happen if you manage to over-ride fear and swing the pendulum back to love.

Story Number One: A few months ago I started a co-writing project with a guy who’s writing a book on social media marketing. The whole ethos of his book is about breaking the so-called rules and being creative with your social media content. In the course of our conversations he urged me to start vlogging.

Now vlogging was something I’d always steered well clear of before. Because of, you’ve guessed it, good ol’ fear.

I was afraid that I didn’t have the skills or equipment I needed to produce videos.

I was afraid I’d come across as a stuttering, stammering fool.

And yes, I was afraid of the living hell that is the YouTube Comments Section.

But this guy’s enthusiasm for all things social media is infectious.

So, one day, when I was staring at my novel-in-progress, struggling for inspiration, I picked up my phone and completely spontaneously, recorded a little video of myself for my Facebook Author page.

I just chatted into the camera like I was chatting to a friend and then, before fear made me press the delete button, I uploaded it to my page.

That video got the most engagement I’ve ever got on my Author page.

Even though it was informal and unrehearsed and rough around the edges – not to mention full of some seriously wobbly camera action – people really engaged with it.

And so my vlogs became a regular feature of my Facebook page.

The positive reception they got gave me the confidence to create some videos for this website.

And set up a YouTube channel.

Then something amazing happened. One of my Facebook followers told me that she’d shared one of my videos with her boss as it was on a topic they were discussing in their workplace, and she asked me if I’d be interested in giving some motivational talks to them – in America!

Let me repeat here – the video she was referring to wasn’t some expertly shot show-reel.

It was me, sitting in my living room, chatting into the camera on my phone.

But because I’d managed to over-ride my fear that it wouldn’t be perfect I’d created something that led to an incredible opportunity.

Story Number Two: Recently, I started writing poetry. Poetry was something I was always afraid of. I saw it as the preserve of writers far more literary than me. But a few months ago I pushed the pendulum away from this fear and started sharing some poems online.

Yesterday, topically, I wrote a poem about overcoming fear.

Now I’ve never studied poetry and I have no idea about the rules regarding rhythm and rhyme.

I just let my ideas flow on to the page.

The poem I wrote yesterday was weird because half way through, the rhythm and rhyming scheme changed completely.

My fear told me this was something I definitely shouldn’t do. And I absolutely, definitely should not share this weird, messed up poem thing with the world.

But once again, I over-rode my fear and published the poem on Instagram anyway.

Last night, I was out having a drink with a musician friend. He’d seen the poem and he really liked it.

‘It sounds like a song with verses and a chorus,’ he said. ‘I’d love to play around with it and put it to music.’

So now it looks as if one of my bucket list wishes (to co-write a rock song) might come true.

And all because I ignored my fear.

I hope you’ve found these little stories inspiring. I hope they encourage you to swing your own pendulum away from fear and write the book / publish the blog post / kiss the boy (or girl) / do whatever it is you are burning to do.

You never know what might happen.

One of my favourite quotes by Goethe sums this up beautifully: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

If you’re interested, here’s the poem I wrote yesterday, which is hopefully now going to be turned into a song.

You’ll see how rough it is.

But hopefully you’ll also see that it didn’t matter at all…

When fear coils snake-like
Around your hope
Stifling your voice
And choking your dreams
Don’t forget it was you
Who created this monster
With its hiss of ‘yesss but…’
And its withering screams.
It was you who gave life
To the spectre that haunts you
In the shadows of loss
And the forest of pain.
It was you who gave voice
To the serpent that plagues you
And it’s this that will lead you
To freedom again.

Because everything you create
You can uncreate too
You have all the power
Inside of you.

So picture that serpent
As it hisses in your ear
Taunting your boldness
Filling you with fear.
Then conjure a sun
Ablaze with Love’s fire
And see your fear burn
On a funeral pyre.
Dance on the embers
Scatter the dust
Reignite your courage
Relearn to trust.

Because everything you create
You can uncreate too
You have all the power
Inside of you.


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