There exists a fine line between fear and worry. Worry tends to be the first manifestation of fear. When I wake up at four in the morning worrying, what am I afraid of? Not getting my next book published? Making a fool of myself?
It’s always helpful to go through a sequence of what is the worst that could happen. What if I don’t complete my manuscript? Then I won’t be submitting it to the publisher. Then what? It won’t get published. Then what? I’ll have to finish it and submit it to another publisher. Oh.
Some fears are grounded. Having a gun pointed at you, being in a lightning storm, seeing an out-of-control car careening toward you on the highway provoke legitimate fear. Other forms of fear are anticipatory or imaginary. Anticipatory fears, the realm of worry, can be addressed through planning.
The secret is to take the necessary steps and then detach. Rather than being fearful about my manuscript, I do everything that I can to produce quality results. But if the publisher goes out of business, this is beyond my control. I do my best and then need to detach from the outcome.
When our kids were very young and had bad dreams about monsters, I told them to talk to the monster. Tell the monster that I was going to come punch it in the nose.
We’d all like to have someone who can punch our own personal monsters in the nose. I’ll have to remember that the next time I wake up at four in the morning.