Thursday, July 28, 2016

Stop it!

by Charis Joy Jackson



I feel like I’ve written about this topic over and over again. Coming at it from different angles, hoping to inspire, hoping to encourage and provoke aspiring authors and professionals alike. But today, I’m going to just come straight out and say it.

Stop it!

I get excited meeting other writers and I’ve been meeting a lot lately. I ask them what they write and they tell me they haven’t really started anything yet, but they want to. I ask them what’s stopping them and while the answers vary with excuses, ultimately it all comes from the same place.

They are afraid and they’ve let that fear stop them.

I’m so done with seeing fear win.

There’s a comedy sketch with Bob Newhart where he plays a therapist, Dr. Switzer, meeting with a client, Catherine Bigman, for the first time. He starts by telling Catherine he charges five dollars for the first five minutes and then after those five minutes doesn’t charge anything else. Sounds like a dream come true for Catherine, but then Dr. Switzer says he guarantee’s the meeting won’t last that long.

Confused, she agrees to the payment and they start the session. She begins to tell him of her fear. She’s afraid of being buried alive in a box.

He sits and listens to her like a good therapist. Nodding his head, making noises and asking pertinent questions all to encourage her to continue. Then once she’s finished describing how far this fear extends he tells her he’s got two words for her. He tells her to listen carefully, to take these words with her and to incorporate them in her life.

Intrigued she pulls out her notepad to write them down and that’s when he says it.

“Stop it!”

What if it’s as simple as that? To stop it.

Fear paralyses us, but think about it. We’re the ones feeding it. It’s our own creativity and imagination working against us. What if I don’t succeed? What if I can’t write? What if I’m not good enough? And the “What if’s” continue pilling up like an excellent tragedy.

But, what if we tried?

Even if we don’t succeed we tried.  Even if we find that writing is a lot tougher than we expected, at least we stepped out of our comfort zone. Even if we really aren’t good enough, at least we know where our weaknesses are and we can grow from them.

The truth is, none of us start out as super human wordsmiths knowing exactly what to write. The good news though is we can grow to become great novelists, but it takes time and practice. If we let fear win, we never give ourselves the chance to practice and if we don’t practice then we’ll never learn.

So if you’re feeling particularly stuck at the moment with your writing, or if you haven’t yet put pen to paper, please watch Bob Newhart’s hilarious sketch Stop It and let the simple truth wash over you.

And if you still struggle with fear, then listen carefully to these ten words. Write them out and take them with you. “Stop it or I’ll bury you alive in a box.”

Write! You’re actually more creative than you give yourself credit. Remember all those “What if’s” that pile up in your mind and paralyze you? That’s creative thinking too! Yes, it’s negative, but it still takes energy to come up with all those fears. How about doing something more productive with your mind. Start creating those epic adventures trapped behind the walls of fear. Break the walls down and like Nike says, “Just do it.”

Stop letting excuses take over.

Stop letting fear get in the way.

Stop giving in to self doubt.

Stop it and try believing in yourself for once. Try believing in a creative God who created you to create and go and write.

I dare you.



 

 Charis Joy Jackson is working as a missionary with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) a non-profit organization & is part of The Initiative Production Company, an independent film company. Where she gets to make movies for a living. 

She loves creating stories & is currently writing a novel in her spare time, which she hopes to publish in the next year.

Here's to a life lived in awe & wonder.  Welcome to the adventure.

22 comments:

  1. Love the way you write Charis. Fear is a robber that steals a lot from us. That video clip sounds hilarious and nails the truth beautifully. Your 'Stop it' reminds me of the Nike slogan, 'Just do it'. Thanks for a creative reminder!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anusha. It's something I struggle against on a daily basis, so was excited to share such a blatant piece with other creatives in the hopes it actually helps them to overcome the fear they're facing.

      Delete
  2. I love that clip and the concept is profound even if it appears uncaring. I guess the rest of the thought is Start it! This NaNo I've nearly had to tie myself in the chair to write. The discipline is kicking in and my writing is improving. Thanks Charis for another inspiring post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Thanks Jo, the next thought is Start it! Haha, glad to hear you are finding more discipline in your writing. It's so important and something I'm still learning too ;)

      Delete
  3. Thanks Charis! Great blog and not-so-gentle reminder.😀 I amaze myself with the excuses I can come up with to stop myself writing! Fear and lack of self discipline are not a good combination. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Janelle, I know exactly what you mean. I'm the queen of excuses and yes, lack of discipline can definitely add to the chaos. Glad you liked the blog :)

      Delete
  4. I have no problem starting. I have several started and almost finished manuscript. Thanks for the reminder to Stop it! and do what comes next.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha I totally understand! Hope you're able to stop it and do what's next. Finish it!

      Delete
  5. And two words for you, Charis. 'Well said!'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rita! I need to take my own advice and get writing ;)

      Delete
  6. Thanks for the dare Charis. It's so easy to let things stop us from reaching our goals. But with God on our side, how can we fail? I'd say more, but I have to stop procrastinating and write :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha yes, write a blog about the "more" bit, but yes keep writing!!!!!

      Delete
    2. I'll just bet you don't procrastinate as much as I do, Nola. I have a Masters in it.

      Delete
  7. Absolutely. At the last Norwest Writers Group and at the FaithWriters Gathering in Georgia, this very aspect was targeted. Fear, lack of confidence, feelings of inadequacy. We write for the God of all creation. We have no reason to be afraid. Having said that, we also need to constantly hone our skills to be excellent for His glory. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Absolutely Deb!!! Honing our skills is incredibly important :)

      Delete
  8. Great post, thanks, Charis. I'm having pre-launch jitters at the moment. So quite timely :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeanette, your launch will be bookishly amazing :-)

      Delete
    2. AWww, don't be nervous! I'm soooo excited for your launch! It's gonna be great!!!!

      Delete
  9. Thank you for this wonderful post, Charis. I am often plagued with fear and insecurities. At the moment I am plagued with grief over the loss of my fur baby, Jessie. Your post is so encouraging that I think I will go and write about Jessie ... much better than writing nothing at all ... don't you think?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Absolutely. I know how hard it is to lose a pet, they really become part of the family. Writing about Jessie is an excellent idea! One of my favourite authors, Robin Hobb, has a character in one of her books where they can connect to animals (it's a fantasy novel) and every time I read it, I'm reminded of my own fur baby and how much I miss her. Sorry for your loss, I look forward to seeing what you write about yours!

      Delete
  10. The "Just stop it" motto applies to so many things in life. Thanks for such a helpful and humorous post! Watched Bob Newhart's sketch - brilliant. I should change my counselling tactics :)

    ReplyDelete