The day before my last Fear & Writing workshop, I sat down and did some freewriting using the same writing prompts that I have my students do in the workshop. It’s a good way to place myself in my students’ shoes and experience what they will experience.
One of the prompts was, FEAR WANTS ME TO…
Here’s what I wrote in just a few minutes.
FEAR WANTS ME TO…
stay to myself,
not question things,
not try new things,
do only what I already know,
whether it’s good for me or bad for me doesn’t matter,
Fear wants me to stay stuck in the same place,
stay doing things that form such a layer of comfort around myself that I’m on autopilot all the time,
that any time I do something outside that comfort zone I feel such anxiety that I will stop and not continue,
fear wants me to be static,
unable to see beyond my tiny sphere of habits and routine,
fear wants me to stop trying,
fear wants me to give up.
Nothing I wrote surprised me. Being a full-time creative is joyous and hard. Every day, I have to make the conscious decision to face fear and keep writing, keep creating, keep stretching myself outside of my comfort zone. But, what did surprise me was my ability to articulate my daily struggle so clearly in just a few minutes.
Can you relate to what I wrote?
Wondering what might come up for you if you respond to this prompt?
Why not give it a try?
You’ve got nothing to lose and it only takes five minutes.
Grab a pen and your notebook or a piece of paper.
Write at the top of the page: FEAR WANTS ME TO…
Set a timer for five minutes.
Press start and write whatever comes to you. Don’t edit. Don’t backtrack. Don’t even correct your spelling or grammar! Let whatever wants to come out flow onto the page.
Keep writing until the timer goes off. If you can’t think of what to write, write I love gummy bears, I love gummy bears over and over until something comes to you.
Now, read what you wrote.
What came out? Anything make you feel ashamed or angry or sad? Anything make a lightbulb go off above your head? Anything make you smile or laugh? How did it feel to write about this?
Post your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you!
ps. If you enjoyed this exercise, check out my Fear & Writing course. Lots more prompts and freewrites are waiting for you there.
Peg Cheng is the author of The Contenders, a novel that asks, can enemies become friends? She is also the creator of Fear & Writing, a workshop for procrastinating writers from all walks of life.