Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fear and the Writer - Part 1

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You know, when you really think about it, it's funny some of the things we fear. We human beings have such a wide array of fears as individuals, my Roget's thesaurus contains an entire list of individual "phobias" that is, I'm quite serious, pages long. And it's not even a complete list of all of them, which is probably the scariest thing of all.

There's everything from the range of routine and common, such as:
Acrophobia/altophobia/batophobia/hypsophobia - heights
Agoraphobia - open places
Arachnophobia - spiders
Belonephobia - needles
Ophiciophobia/ophiophobia - snakes
And, of course, a list especially for the various types of germ-phobes out there.
Then there are the less common ones, such as:
Aulophobia - flutes
Baruphobia - gravity
Chromophobia - color
Linonophobia - string
Neophobia - new things
And the list goes on and on. Oddly enough, public speaking (glossophobia) isn't on the list. Clowns (coulrophobia) didn't make Roget's list either; yet that's a common phobia as well. (I've never liked clowns myself, but since I figured out what exactly weirded me out about them they no longer have the power to fill me with fear or cause nightmares like they did when I was a kid. I still don't like them though.)

You could probably look down Roget's long and varied list (or another one) and laugh at some that seem truly bizarre or identify with others to one degree or another. Having had a string of phobias throughout my life that God, through His power and grace, has helped me overcome, I can understand a lot of the ones that might otherwise have struck me as silly. Some of them, I honestly still don't get.

The phobia list hits home, though, when you reach the emotional ones - fear of rejection, imperfection, being alone, and/or failure. How many of us haven't experienced those?

One of the writing organizations I'm connected to on Facebook posed the question recently - In six words or less, what do you most fear as a writer? You know how they say that generally the first thing that pops to mind when you are asked a question is the REAL answer. Yeah, well, I had one of those moments. Others posted about facing or not meeting deadlines, not finishing their book, not finding an agent/publisher. Mine was more internal than that. It came right off the top of my head and actually caught me by surprise. Then I realized it was bulls-eye accurate.

Check out next week's post to find out what my response was and what thoughts it triggered.

In the meantime, how would YOU answer that question? What do YOU fear most as a writer?

On a more fun note - have you ever looked at a list of phobias as a way of generating ideas for characters and/or stories?


  1. Well the very first word that popped into my mind when I read the question was "success". Now how's THAT for weird!?

    1. Given how severe an introvert you are, Brenda, that actually makes total sense. Success means attention, which means being OUT THERE in front of people. So that's totally NOT weird when you really think about it. Success would require you to step outside your comfort zone. :)

  2. I can't wait to hear what your fear is!