Fear of Not Having Fear

By guest blogger Patti Stafford

I’ve managed to overcome a lot of fear in my life, but there’s some I still hold on to. I’ve started asking myself why; what’s the reason for not stepping out of my comfort zone in some areas. Is it possible we’re afraid to completely let go of fear?

There’s an old saying: There’s nothing to fear except fear itself. On the other side of that is no fear. I think people fear not having fear because lack of fear completely removes that safety or comfort zone; the thing that keeps you safe.

Ask yourself this . . .

What’s the worst that could happen if I found a way to let go of fear?

The answer may or may not be simple, but we’re going with the simple answer. Without fear you would finish your novel, you would edit and polish your novel, you would send out queries . . . you might even get that thing published.

Another β€œworst” is that people will try to bring you back down or they will criticize your work. We’ve all got the wounds to show for it. I’m trying to develop an attitude of This is my life, this is what I want to do and I don’t care what people think. Yes, their comments may sting, but it’s not like they’ve physically harmed me.

What’s another thing that can happen if you let go of fear? You may actually have a good time and make new friends. Fear keeps you stuck with the same old people. As long as they can keep you down with them, they don’t have to strive for more or hold themselves accountable for their own fear and staying stuck. It’s possible you hold on to your fear because you don’t want to hurt their feelings if you grow beyond those friendships. I mean, what kind of friend leaves their friends behind? A better question is what kind of friend holds you back? Don’t let that guilt keep you from facing your fear and smacking it around a bit.

A good way to face your fear is to write it out and send it to Fear of Writing as a guest post. That way you can smack it in front of the whole world. Of course, that in itself could cause fear. What if you did this and Milli and j actually published it?

The more you step out into the unknown the more known it becomes and the easier it becomes.

In the world of network marketing one biggy that holds people back is having to prospectβ€”call people and share their great new discovery and try to get them on board. The key phrase that seasoned marketers use is one I think can be applied to many things, even the writing world.

Some will, some won’t, so what? Next!

Do you fear not having fear? What is one baby step you could take toward the other side of fear?


Patti Stafford describes herself as an eccentric writer and a musician’s wife. She writes at Blogging Tips, Associated Content and Sassy Women’s Health & Wellness. She sells her favorites candles at Stafford Scents. Patti blogs at pattistafford.com and tweets as @pattistafford.

18 Responses to Fear of Not Having Fear
  1. Milliver's Travels
    Twitter: fearofwriting
    April 15, 2011 | 9:46 AM

    My baby step: I’m planning a trip next month to the state next door (Bucks County, Pennsylvania).

    I don’t enjoy taking trips by myself because I fear heavy traffic and finding my way around in strange places. I rely on Brian to be the navigator when we travel – and he is TOTALLY at home doing that. (I call him Map Guy because he lives for his maps and his GPS – plus he has driven kajillions of miles more than me in his lifetime.) But I’m a travel writer, so I can’t stay stuck in this rut forever.

    When I was younger I *did* travel by myself – even overseas – and though I was self-conscious I also loved the adrenalin of pushing my own barriers. So I’m hoping this small, safe trip of only 6-7 hours of driving one-way will unleash that same adrenalin.

    Then I’ll want to do it again and again! Then there will be no stopping me!

    ~ Milli

  2. Patti Stafford
    Twitter: pattistafford
    April 15, 2011 | 11:27 AM

    Awesome Milli! I got over fear of traveling alone when Kevin and I started seeing each other again. I would go to south AR on weekends to stay and “date.”

    Of course, since we’ve gotten married I haven’t driven hardly at all. In fact, I’ve only driven twice in the past year; once to move to Little Rock—oh wait, we towed the car back to MO, so it’s only once since last August.

    I could get over my fear again if I had to or wanted to, but since I have my chauffeur, I prefer to just look out the passenger window. {wink} Besides, we’re down to one car so I might as well just let him do the driving. LOL

    I DO have other fears to overcome though. We’ll have to support one another in stepping outside of our “self-imposed” boundaries. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for running my post. Just knowing it’s live and could help others helps me a great deal.

    Love Bugs & Huggy Bugs! πŸ™‚

  3. Lois
    April 15, 2011 | 11:48 AM

    Great article, Patti! πŸ˜€

    My biggest fear is success, as I’ve said before. It keeps me from editing and revising. Going hand in hand with that is the fear that I’ll run out of ideas. Sure, I’ve got lots of ideas now, but what if something happens in a month or two to dry up my creative well? What will I do then?

    I guess it’s time I tackled this fear, once and for all, huh? πŸ˜‰


    • Patti Stafford
      Twitter: pattistafford
      April 15, 2011 | 12:29 PM

      Thanks for the comment, Lois. Yes, you need to just go for it and worry about the well going dry when it’s time to worry—like after it happens, and there’s no guarantee it will happen. In fact, the odds are that it will not happen and you wasted all that fear for nothing. LOL. (yep, you know my toes are sore from that same speech.)

      Besides, you have so many things already written that if success strikes you hard you’ve got plenty of back-up material. Most people only dream of having that much material to work with.

      Like I commented to Milli, I have many more fears to work through, but I’ve tried to adopt a few mantra’s, for lack of a better word.

      Do it anyway and Don’t worry until it’s time.

      AND–I fear success too, because success is a life changing event and it’s not just MY life it affects–but that’s a whole other guest post. πŸ˜‰

      • Lois
        April 15, 2011 | 2:00 PM

        I plan to do it anyway, believe me! I’ll start with last year’s screenplay. πŸ˜‰

    • Milliver's Travels
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      April 15, 2011 | 12:57 PM

      Lois, I agree with Patti when she said “Most people only dream of having that much material to work with.” I don’t think an ideas well can dry up once you have oneβ€”but even if it did, you could spend several years polishing and submitting the stuff you’ve already got. πŸ™‚

      Perhaps your first baby step in tackling the fear could be to write about it as a guest post for FoW. Your fear of success, and what it keeps you from doing.

      ~ Milli

      • Lois
        April 15, 2011 | 2:01 PM

        Milli, that’s a great idea. Thanks! πŸ˜€

  4. purplekangaroos
    April 15, 2011 | 3:48 PM

    One of my main fears is talking about my fears. I guess it’s like a superstition that admitting it makes it even more so. My baby step is to say so here. πŸ™‚

    It probably sounds like a contradiction to what I just said, but I agree that writing a blog for Fear of Writing is a good way to face your fear. But if you get it all down on paper and can come out the other side of the fear, that’s a good thing! And that’s what you did on this blog post today. Congratulations Patti!

    I’ve overcome a lot of my childhood shyness over the years, but I am not able to articulate very well in conversations, so a lot of times I don’t speak up. I’ve made some peace with this so it’s not that important to me anymore, although some days I have my regrets when I can’t say what I want because I fear to offend or look stupid.

    Good post Patti – I enjoyed it,


    • Patti Stafford
      Twitter: pattistafford
      April 16, 2011 | 11:49 AM

      Thanks for the comment Catherine. I too, do not articulate well with the spoken word. I know what I want to say but sometimes it gets jumbled on the way to my mouth. That’s part of the reason I write, it’s easier to edit. πŸ™‚ But speaking (more in public) and speaking well are other fears I have to work on too. We’ll get there, it just takes practice.


      P.S. Sometimes I speak without regard to who I’ll offend or whether or not I look stupid, but I try to only do that if the situation is in dire need of a sassy opinion. LOL

  5. Tricia
    Twitter: Tricia_Sutton
    April 15, 2011 | 5:57 PM

    Hmmm, I fear dying with only a rough draft.What if someone published what I hadn’t polished? Once I developed this fear, I can no longer just “get it down” with the idea I can polish it later. Now I revise as a go, then start at the beginning and do it all again…and again.

    • Patti Stafford
      Twitter: pattistafford
      April 16, 2011 | 11:56 AM

      Tricia, Thanks for your comment. I think I have a similar fear. I will write in my personal journals and eventually tear it all out because someone may see it and if I die famous and my “memoirs” get published, people might conclude I was a total fruit cake. But, then again, there’s nothing wrong with a good fruit cake. πŸ™‚

      You’re in the right place to get over your fears. I used to polish as I went too. I started using notepad more so I don’t have any squiggly lines to interrupt my train of thought. I’ve gotten a lot better at getting a rough draft written in one sitting, leave it for awhile and then coming back to polish it later. On my personal blog, however, I sometimes post whatever comes out of my head.

      Have you written or considered writing a guest post here at FoW? That could be a big starting point to help overcome your fears. πŸ™‚

      Thanks again for the comment.


      • Milliver's Travels
        Twitter: fearofwriting
        April 16, 2011 | 12:18 PM


        In case Tricia is too modest to blow her own horn, here’s a list of her guest blog posts at FoW. Click on ‘guest blogger’ under Categories and look for

        Fear of Finishing (Feb 10)
        Healthy Writers Series: Superhero Pancake (Mar 21)
        Mango Man (Apr 1)

        You can tell by the titles which post Tricia used to share one of her fears with us. The “Mango Man” post was where she used a Fear of Writing prompt to write a short story and it’s extremely entertaining. πŸ™‚

        Over to you, Tricia.

        ~ Milli

  6. j
    April 16, 2011 | 12:30 PM

    The title of your post totally caught me. I once listened to Eckhart Tolle talk about how we find comfort in our labels, even the ones we claim not to like. At first I was defensive, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized there’s truth in that. I may hate being shy, for instance, but I know how to do it, and it doesn’t risk anything to stay in that place. Hearing him call me on it was the beginning of change for me. Now your post has me asking myself what labels am I buying into as a writer. Thank you!

    • Patti Stafford
      Twitter: pattistafford
      April 16, 2011 | 9:00 PM

      Awesome comment J. My daughter once wrote a piece on the masks we hide behind, and your analogy of labels just reminded me that fear is not only a mask we hide behind but it can also a label we put on ourselves. Fear can also be a comfort to us, much like chocolate. As long as we hold on to some fear we have our little blankie to cloak ourselves in.

      I haven’t fully determined if I’m afraid to let all of the fear go, but I do think I hold onto some of my fears because I don’t know what’s on the other side of it. What am I left with if I don’t have my fear as a comfort or, better yet, as an excuse.

      When I wrote that as a free writing session it seemed silly, but after I read back over it I realized it was quite profound.

      Thanks for your comment. Let’s kick some fear in the butt!


  7. Julia
    Twitter: wordsxo
    April 16, 2011 | 6:23 PM

    I don’t fear not having fear! I have plenty of healthy fear…not only do I fear dying with only a rough draft (like Tricia) but I fear dying without ever finishing *something big* and important, like having a book published or completing the renovation of my old house. As a writer, I also fear that I’ll never live up to my expectations of being good.

  8. Patti Stafford
    Twitter: pattistafford
    April 17, 2011 | 2:33 PM

    Thanks for sharing, Julia.

    Do you use those fears to help you to move forward and get more done? Fear generally holds us back, but in some cases we can let us move us forward into what we want to accomplish.

    On the other hand, is any type of fear healthy? I don’t have an answer. Maybe other readers will give us their two cents worth. πŸ™‚

    Thanks again for the comment.


  9. Bell
    Twitter: StartYourNovel
    April 25, 2011 | 7:24 AM

    Fear used to be a healthy response to the world around us — healthy in the sense that it would keep you alive.

    Now that most of us in the civilized world enjoy relative safety from harm, fear sometimes goes into overdrive.

    Don’t get me wrong, we need fear. Someone who feels no fear at all is not in great mental health. Fear is an ally. But a very… expansive one. It can easily take over every aspect of your life. When that happens, you see danger lurking in every corner.

    Nothing beats fear like taking chances; trying something and succeeding.
    However, taking chances and failing is not that bad, either. Recovering from failure is an art form, and it makes you stronger. As the Samurai said: Fall eight times, get up nine.

    My baby step was accepting that I can’t always be perfect and that I won’t always get what I want. Life is full of possibility.

    My main fear has always been fear of rejection, under any form it may assume.
    Over time I came to understand that rejection means very little, and acceptance a lot more. Rejections are just stepping stones on the way to acceptance. That’s all they are.

    • Patti Stafford
      Twitter: pattistafford
      April 27, 2011 | 12:39 PM

      Bell, Oooh, I love your comment! I try to see each day of my life as a stepping stone to get where I’m going so I enjoyed your stepping stone analogy.

      I agree that fear once was a healthy response. But as humans we often take things too far.

      Thanks for your comment. πŸ™‚

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