Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Feel That Fear - Then Step Forward

How many opportunities have you passed up because you were too fearful to try?  I've done this more times than I care to remember and in a way, writing my blog became my unique way of feeling that fear and then taking the next step.

I committed to journaling my story as I took on fifty-two challenges last year and knowing I had an audience who would laugh and cry along with me, made facing those fears less overwhelming.

One of my favourite self-help authors, Peter Jones, put fear in to perspective for me very neatly in his book 'How to do Everything and Be Happy.'  He said that if we have those funny, tummy turning feelings then it means something in our life is about to change - it's your choice if you want to step forward and accept that change.  This was all I needed to hear to understand that I was reasonably normal and it was okay to 'feel the fear.'  After reading his book, I began to take more of those forward steps.

Last week, my bold step forward took me to my first writer's conference in London.  Hosted by Writers & Artists at Bloomsbury Publishing, it was a sell-out event.  As I mingled with my fellow writers', I realised many of the attendees in the room were also feeling the fear as we exchanged our tales of anxiety in hushed voices.

I was fairly certain that the good people at W&A didn't have a saber tooth tiger hidden in the cloakroom, so I pondered on why I had sweaty palms and butterflies in my stomach.  As we filed in to the beautiful conference room and saw the row of publishers seated at the front of the room, I understood perfectly why my palms were the way they were.  The gatekeepers of the publishing world gazed upon us as we took our seats in quiet awe, these women were to be revered and placed on a golden pedestal!

As the morning session progressed we all listened and scribbled notes as Emma Hopkin from Bloomsbury, Jill Coleman from Little Tiger Press and Mara Bergman from Walker Books, gave us an insight in to the world of publishing for children and young adults.

As Emma spoke I began to feel as though I'd popped out for coffee with one of my girl friends.  She was warm, funny and brilliantly insightful.  As a mother, with children a similar age to my own, she recalled the funny stories that made being a mother the best job in the world.  She was quite simply a dream to listen to.  Then it happened - all of a sudden my fears began to melt away as I laughed along with her and nodded at the similarities in our family life.

I realised then, with startling clarity, that these women were just doing their job and I had been the one to put them on that golden pedestal.  It was at that moment I understood that 'fear' is something we create ourselves - and as a fantasy writer I can create some gruesome scenarios!

The feeling that followed was one of relief.  What if I hadn't signed up for this conference, just look at what I would have missed.  I had felt the fear and stepped up to the challenge, big girl pants well and truly on!

The equally brilliant, Matt Whyman, author of The Savages and numerous other titles, ran our afternoon workshop.  A father of four, husband and author and another funny, warm and inspiring person.  I learned so much in the seven short hours we had and left London aglow with a head bursting full of ideas and information.

I woke up Sunday morning with a renewed sense of purpose and determination.  I was a writer and I was going to write!

So my first writing conference was a huge success and only possible thanks to taking that forward step.  You may be reading this post as a non-writer and wondering how it can relate to your own life - well firstly, thank you for staying with me up to this point and secondly, it's the same principle.

Want to learn photography?  Book on a course or a beginner's afternoon.
Want to run a Marathon?  Sign up for a couple of 5k and 10k races then sign up for the big one and throw yourself into your training.
Want to start your own business?  Research your chosen field and meet with someone you trust to talk over the pros and cons or make an appointment with a business advisor.

If it scares you then hurrah, you are making a change that will carry you forward.  Only when you've taken that first photography class or arrived at the starting line of your 10k, will you understand that everyone else was feeling the same way prior to that moment, and now you all feel proud, grateful and euphoric together.

You only feel this when you take that take it!

What have you always wanted to do but fear is holding you back?
How can you take that step forward today?

I love to receive your feedback so do please leave me a comment or pop over to our Facebook page and say hello.

For further details on other Writing Conferences and events, log on to - a fabulous site full of helpful advice and the home of every writers' bible!


  1. Hi Shelley, I really enjoyed your post. I was also at the event on Saturday and am glad to know I wasn't the only one with butterflies beforehand! It was a great day, wasn't it? And I especially found Matt Whyman's session really useful.

    All the best with your writing!

    1. Thanks Joely, it was a fantastic day wasn't it? Plenty of information to get our brains ticking! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my post and good luck to you too, keep in touch :-)

  2. I loved your post today! I find fear sometimes holding me back for wanting to try new things. I just signed up for a genealogy conference because I want to learn more. After I paid I was thinking "why did I do that? I'm not going to fit in. I don't know what I'm doing.. blah blah blah. And I'm sure I'm not going to be the only one thinking that and I will probably have a great time! It's amazing what we let fear take over our thoughts!

    1. Thanks for your comment Lucy and congratulations for signing up to your genealogy conference, what a fascinating topic! Fear only wins if we let it and you have taken that step - well done! Have a fabulous conference :-)

  3. Your post spoke to me. I recently had this aha! moment, that feeling uncomfortable with a situation does not always mean I need to back down. As a result I have stuck with a new part time job at a nursing home. It makes me feel anxious, overwhelmed and at times uncomfortable...and then it happens my heart is filled with joy as I connect with a resident and we share stories and I feel their Life has been touched, because of me. In order to make a difference in the world we need to take those steps...even if they are hard.

    Your post was validating.....Thank You!

    1. Thank you Maria for your lovely comment and well done for sticking with your decision. Working in the healing profession in any capacity is tough but very rewarding. My 'day job' when I'm not writing is as a holistic health practitioner and I deal with depression, anxiety and health issues daily, but when a client leaves feeling uplifted then it I feel the same because I helped them achieve that. You are making a difference and only when we can feel the fear and fix ourselves can we fix others. Warmest wishes to you x