Book Blog- The Fear Project
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE YA MUSES!!!
I've always been one of those people who approaches the new year with optimism and enthusiasm, ready to charge and ahead and challenge myself. But with that challenge, there is always some trepidation, and yes, a little fear.
I've been exploring fear and its origins for a project I'm working on. THE FEAR PROJECT, a non-fiction book written by a freelance writer who spoke to experts and scientists and then explained their theories about fear in layman's terms, was a perfect fit for what I was working on. The book explores different studies and theories about where fear comes from, and how fear influences people physically, emotionally and sub-consciously in ways both subtle and extreme. Fear is healthy, necessary to ensure human survival, but it can also hold us back and keep us from reaching our full potential. We know this, but it was fascinating to find out why we're wired to fear certain things, and inspiring to explore ways to overcome it.
This book made me think about how fear has impacted my own choices, both in my life and in my writing journey. My favorite aspect was the hopeful tone- how we can learn to conquer fear, and how even though our bodies may be attuned to recognize and respond to negativity, our minds can be reprogrammed to use fear to motivate us in a positive direction.
Fear and writing go hand in hand, and it can be easy to let doubts or negativity stop you from accomplishing what you're really capable of. But love and positivity can conquer fear. And, if you are a regular reader of the YA Muses blog, you may already have figured out that surrounding yourself with supportive, positive people can help too. This passage explains exactly why I find myself returning to this blog to reread the Muses' posts when I am struggling:
The way to [use love to conquer fear] is by just imagining, anytime of day or night, some person or a group of people who love you and support you. Imagine yourself with those people and how good it feels to be with them. The key, [...] is really letting the emotions of goodness flood your body. By holding this imagery and feeling in your mind, you're actually strengthening neural networks and stimulating oxytocin, the body's bonding hormone, which decreases the fearful freezing response. Doing this often, you'll build a strong base, so you're not so easily swayed by your own negative feedback loops.
And I loved the conclusion that the author came to- that preparation is the key to dealing with and overcoming fear. By accepting the things we are most afraid of and preparing for the worst, we are better equipped to deal with those fearful things when and if they happen. The author had a mantra that I think applies to all aspects of life: "Prepare, prepare, prepare, go. Prepare, prepare, prepare, flow." In other words, spend a lot of time preparing for what fears you, but when if finally comes time to face your fear, let it go and react in the moment. That's kind of how I like my first drafts to go. After days or weeks of outlining, plotting, studying craft and preparing to write, when I finally open the Word document on the computer, I don't want to think about any of that. I just write and hope that the preparation sticks. And if doesn't, I always have drafts 2 through a million to get it right.
THE FEAR PROJECT is a light read filled with interesting studies that made me think about what it means to be human, and an interesting arc as the author explores how fear has impacted the decisions in his own life. Win-win.