For a while now I’ve been pushing myself beyond my fears, because I’ve always had a lot of them and I’ve found that every time I face one my life gets a little better. In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes:
Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance will unfailingly point to true North — meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing.
We can use this. We can use it as a compass. We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others.
Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
I believe this. Following my fear has always steered me in the right direction. I’m afraid of fewer things. I feel stronger and more confident than I ever imagined was possible twenty years ago.
Lately, my intuition has been urging me to take the “do what scares you” advice quite literally.
I’m thinking about writing a horror novel. This is weird for many reasons, but mainly because I’m a huge wuss. I have a lot of nightmares. I mean a lot. Even thinking about my story idea makes me kind of jumpy.
But you know how it is when an idea takes root. You can’t just shake it off. It grows. So while one side of my brain keeps coming up with reasons not to write a horror novel, the other side is happily watering the little sprout and building a trellis for it to climb. And I find myself telling everyone I know that my next project is a ghost story.
But…but I don’t write scary stories.
But the nightmares.
But dead babies and stuff. What will my mother think?
My fears seem to have no power over this idea. If it weren’t for the fact that I promised myself I’d finish the first draft of my current novel-in-progress by the end of March, I’d be neck deep in research on post-partum depression and a fifty year-old murder case.
Nope, all my worries only make me want to spend more time nurturing my ghost story seedling. So, why not? The worst that could happen is I find out I’m not a horror writer. And I can’t help but wonder if all those nightmares are trying to tell me something, that maybe their cure is in releasing those fears onto the page. Guess I’ll find out.