Are You Afraid of Falling?

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Most of us are afraid of falling down. It hurts, makes us look stupid, people laugh at us, and feels like we failed at walking. In life, we don’t hesitate to get back up, with or without help. We even use it as a funny story to tell our coworkers on lunch break and our families at dinner. “Ann, your slacks are streaked with dirt. What happened?” “Oh, Mary, funny story, I was walking down the stairs, and you wouldn’t believe it, but…”

Seldom is it truly all that humorous to us, but we’ll make fun of ourselves before someone else does. We are quick to beat ourselves up further for being ‘so clumsy’ and looking foolish. So, we avoid anything that could cause us to fall. We watch for broken sidewalks, extra-high curbing, icy parking lots, rickety steps, unsteady ladders, wet floors and even banana peels. Some of us are so worried about falling that we’ll forsake fashion  for safety–no high heels, rubber soles, velcro instead of shoelaces, and glasses, so we can see where we’re going.

As writers we experience falling down more than we care to admit…we fall by not learning what we need to know in order to write well, not committing to making time to write, by not being able to accept the value of a critique, not finishing our work in progress, and by giving up after a few rejections.

So, do you try to prevent falling or do you allow yourself to fall? We can try to prevent it by learning to write, accepting criticism, finishing what we started, and submitting over and over. We have to be prepared to fall anyway, no matter how much we look out for the hazards.

Last month, Kristen Lamb’s post, What Ju-Jitsu Can Teach Us About Writing, gives good examples of how we fall and how we get back up. Here’s what she had to say:
To get good at falling, we must first overcome the fear of falling. We can never be masters of anything until we are no longer ruled by what we fear. We must practice until a fall is no longer a setback, just a change in directional energy that fuels our next attack. When we can master the art of falling, only then will we be on our way to our Writer Black Belt…the title of Career Author.

To read more of Kristen’s post, please click here.

Critiques help us learn how to write better. Rejections are not about us, but about what’s going on in that publisher’s world at the moment. Developing the discipline to make writing a priority and to finish the story is necessary to become an author. Use what you learn from falling and let it fire you up to try again. Don’t expect it to be easy and don’t compare your ‘beginning’ to someone else’s ‘middle’ on this journey.

 What causes you to fall? How do get back up when you fall?

Thanks for visiting!

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9 thoughts on “Are You Afraid of Falling?

  1. I didn’t find the poll?? I equate it to taking risks…without taking risks our lives would be boring and so lonely…we have to take risks all the time…there are times I think that maybe I am on the wrong path and then a wonderful comment out of the blue will rock me back to reality and I realize I just fell…i just doubted myself, but thankfully someone took a risk and helped me back up again…

    • Sorry about the missing poll…couldn’t get the dern thing to work. I’ll update my blog. Thanks.
      I agree about risks, sometimes their exciting and sometimes scary, but you have to do it anyway. Thank goodness for those good samaritan types who will lend a hand now and then.

  2. So much wisdom here! Thanks, Marcia. It helps me to think of baseball players, and how often they must strike out (in a very public way) in order to hit those glorious home runs… or even get to first base.

    • Great analogy, Lisa! I guess we’ve all gotten up from falls now and then, but when we are doing something creative for ourselves, we don’t often make it important enough to persevere no matter what. Good to see you!

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