Do What Scares You


"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear." ---Mark Twain

"Do one thing every day that scares you." ---Eleanor Roosevelt

I'm sure we've all heard quotes like this. Do what scares you. Write what scares you. I never meant to take this advice literally, but I kind of am.

I'm writing a scary story. And I haven't been able to watch anything scary/horror related in years! I couldn't go to the bathroom by myself after watching The Skeleton Key. And I barely made it through the first half of White Noise. It's all too real to me; I can't separate reality from the story. So what the bleep am I doing writing a scary story?

I secretly like creepy things. I have this morbid fascination with haunted houses and skeletons and dark things! I like stories with a creepy edge to them, I love Tim Burton's stuff, and Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. And I've always wanted to write a story like this. But it still gets to me, especially when I'm writing late at night and Hubby goes to bed before I do---ACK! I have to stay up and look at blogs or read to distract myself, otherwise I picture the ghosts and creepiness from my story (or the ghost stories I'm researching) and it keeps me from being able to close my eyes.

I'm also scared about people's reaction, because it is darker than anything I've ever written before.

Writing itself can be scary, putting your beloved ms out there on blog contests for people to tear apart your opening lines or your query letters, sending it out to agents only to get smattered with rejections. It's definitely not easy! I think success can also be a scary thing. What? I actually did something right and got an agent? Aw crap, now what? (Lol, although I hear once you have an agent it's exactly the same as what I'm trying to do now, except the agent is the one pitching your material to editors instead, and more rejections follow. But hey, that's one step closer than I am now!) And no, I don't have an agent. Yet.

All I'm saying is, sometimes it's beneficial to do what scares you. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, breaks down your muscles so you can build them up again stronger and more durable for the next time. And even though I freak myself out late at night, I'm LOVING my new story and can't wait for it to be ready! I even have interest from an agent because I entered part of it into a Spooktacular contest on my friend's blog last Halloween and the agent who was judging the entries liked my 500 word spiel! (I told her it wasn't ready yet and I'd send it when it was.)

I'm going to end with this awesome quote and a link to the article.

"The truth is that the people who live the life of their dreams take risk. And on top of that, they persist. And on top of that, they trust themselves. And on top of that circumstances don't hold them back, because they know that they are more powerful than their circumstances. And on top of that they know that it's not about how much money you have, but how much passion, willingness and dedication you have to make your dreams come true. And on top of that they know that no one defines what's true for them except them. And on top of that they know that Plan B is not an option because it's a distraction from Plan A. And on top of that they just don't give up because that's who the hell they are!


What is missing from your life? Know that it is missing because you are most likely not giving it. Bring to your life what you want from it. If you don't think the Uni-verse is helping you, try trusting yourself and taking a risk. Listen to your intuition, do what scares you...and see the miracle that awaits."

By Mastin Kipp. See the full article here.

So tell me: do you write what scares you? Do you push the boundaries on what you're comfortable with? What are your thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

33 comments

Morgan said...

*sighs*

<3 this, Cort.

Thanks for the quote. I seriously loved it. :D And loved your take on facing your fears... it *is* scary. And hard. I can't wait to read this horror novel!!!! (And yes, I'm stalking your blog just so I can be at the top of your comments)

Kyra Lennon said...

I love that quote.

I think writing anything is scary if you intend to put it on display for the world to see, and to criticise. I have written out of my comfort zone in the past, and I surprised myself with what I came up with. It was far better than I thought.

I am looking forward to reading your horror story too!

Theresa said...

Awesome quote and Bravo for doing something that scares you.

I laughed when I read how you couldn't go to bathroom by yourself because I have been there so many times. lol. I used to love scary movies and now if I watch one I'm freaked out for weeks.

Emily R. King said...

Fab quote! I think it's great that you're pushing yourself. When we leave our comfort zones, we often find hidden strengths. I'm sure that will be the case with you. : )

Leigh Covington said...

First off... thanks for your awesome comment on my blog. You totally made my day! Love ya to death! (and not in a creepy way!) :D

Also, love this post. WOW. Full of great advice and quotes. Your story sounds amazing. I don't think I'm ready for a scary story yet. It would totally keep me up at night, cause I'm a wimp like that. Bugs tho - cause I love scary stuff!

As for the vibes in the universe. Honestly ... I think God put them there. That's why they work! Awesome, right? :) It's all so cool!

Cortney Pearson said...

Yay, I'm glad you're stalking my blog, ha ha, because I stalk yours. ;) I can't wait for you to read it either!!

Cortney Pearson said...

Thanks, Kyra, it is definitely hard to put yourself out there! That's awesome you excelled beyond your own expectations. :D

Cortney Pearson said...

Yep, sounds like me! :-p

Cortney Pearson said...

Thanks, Emily!!

Cortney Pearson said...

Lol, love ya back!

And you're completely right! I probably should rephrase my statement up there because I do believe there are good vibes, etc. Just that, as you say, God is at the center of them, not "the universe" in general. :)

Heather said...

I love creepy things too! Scary stories rock, though I don't find enough of them lately. And you're right, when it comes to our writing, it is very beneficial to do what scares us!

Lara Schiffbauer said...

I tried to write what scares me, and scared myself! I am not joking, I had to quit writing the story because I was having trouble sleeping. I also totally relate to writing something that is not "typical" and worrying about what others will think. But, I think you are right on, that we have to push ourselves. Writing from emotion helps connect us - both to the reader and to our manuscript.

Jack said...

My scary fear, if not the most scariest fear, is not living up to my potential as a human being with all the gifts I've been bestowed as a writer, but also as a citizen on this earth. I know it sounds incredibly lofty, but I fear I might have blown my life because I haven't allowed fate to rule my life. Ugn...to me, that IS. THE. Scariest thought ever to me.

Sorry for being so candid about this subject, Cortney, you've hit a nerve in my heart that I wasn't too unwilling to reveal. :/

Cortney Pearson said...

Hooray creepiness! :-p

Cortney Pearson said...

I completely HEAR you on that! I did it once before this and took it a little far, and I seriously could NOT sleep!! I ripped up the pages and have since forgotten whatever it was!! So I guess what I'm writing now isn't as scary as that was, lol. ;)

Melissa Sarno said...

I think this is such an important message, Cortney. I feel as if I do something that scares me every day in this business! Especially because I am querying right now. But you've reminded me that I need to take a bigger risk with the project I'm working on now. I've never written from a male POV and I'm avoiding it for some reason...but I think it's time to dive in.

Kelley said...

I am attacking a main character that I don't know anything about. She's a genius, socially awkward and sometimes can be down right rude, just because she doesn't understand people. But she has a good heart.

It's proving to be frustrating and difficult but I'm not giving up on her. :)

Cortney Pearson said...

Please, be candid! If you ever need to get anything off your chest, I'm happy to listen! :) I know exactly what you mean. For me, I believe we take fate into our own hands, that we are the ones who determine where our lives should be by the choices we make. I know from personal experience that it's hard, but the only thing I can control is me and my choices, and once I decided to let the past go and make my life what I thought it was *meant* to be, I was (and am) much happier! It's not easy, but it does work. Hope it helps you to maybe think of things in a different, more positive light! *big hugs* (And hope you don't mind MY candidness! :D)

Cortney Pearson said...

Aaah, good luck querying!! I'm about to jump back into the query boat soon also. And yay, take the risk! Even if you don't end up using the male POV in the finished product, I know from a different project that it helped with character development and made my story stronger by trying it out! :D

Cortney Pearson said...

Sounds like you know her a little better than you think! Don't you love it when you have to work with your characters through their problems? That's when you know they're strong characters! :)

Awesome, Kelley!!

Melissa Bradley said...

Wow oh wow. I cannot thank you enough for sharing this article. It is definitely something I need to read because I let myself give in to fear more often than not.

Cheers to you for taking a risk and writing something scary. i bet it's going to be a huge success for you because you are pushing the boundaries. :)

Cassie Mae said...

Are you saying I have to write a scene when someone gets shot on the toilet? AGH!!!!

But seriously, this post was awesome! Good luck with the scary book. Seriously getting a little chilled.

Oh, and you won the kissing bloghop! You go check my blog out, yes? Thanks!

Theresa Small Sneed said...

Nice blog! I'm in your group for Rachael's 4th Campaign! Great to get to know you! ~Theresa Sneed, author of No Angel (and angel with an attitude) and its forthcoming prequel, From Heaven to Earth. http://theresasmallsneed.blogspot.com

Cortney Pearson said...

It's definitely easier to give in to fear, isn't it? And thanks! :)

Cortney Pearson said...

LOL, you are so funny, Cassie! And hooray, thanks for picking mine!!! :D

Cortney Pearson said...

Thanks for stopping by Theresa!

Janice said...

I have so much love for this post <3

Part of me is too afraid to finish up my WiP because I know I'll have to take the next step. I'm like you, what if I actually get an agent, what if I actually get a publisher ahhhhh! Too scary :).

I'm going to a conference this weekend and I'm avoiding working on my pitch because I'm afraid an agent will ask me for it. Yup! Avoidance is my middle name these days. I think I should pin the quote to my screen :)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Oh my goodness-- I LOVE THAT QUOTE. And I think it's great advice to do things that scare you!

Cortney Pearson said...

Lol, I know how that is! Good luck at your conference!!

Cortney Pearson said...

Yay, thanks, Peggy!!

Jack said...

Oh, I don't mind your candidness at. All. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here! :) Since we're on the subject of fate--I really do believe, with all my being that if cheated, fate has a nasty way of biting back. Man, this comment is turning philosophical! Not to discredit our decision-making abilities, but I think if we allow the natural course of events to take place without interference from us, better things will come--that which was *meant* to be. I think rules are awesome...if we didn't have rules, we'd have anarchy. I also think if we don't follow our dreams--that little voice in the back of our mind telling us to write that book, sing that song or create that technology--fate will exact revenge by giving us EXACTLY what we want and NOT what we were meant to be! *phew* I think I've gone too far, eh? LOL!!! :D

Julia King said...

Cortney, get post. I am terrified of releasing my book(s) out to the public. Yep, an author who is scared of that. haha I will have to get over it. Hopefully soon. Crossing Fingers.

Anyway, like you, I don't want people to think I'm twisted with some of the scary content of my stories. In general, I'm a very happy person. But through my books, I let out my inner angst, I guess.

I do believe I should do something scary everyday. Maybe I should ask that guy out I've been liking. :)

Cynthia said...

Nice visiting your blog again. This is an inspirational post. I agree it's important to trust ourselves. I'm glad you're liking your new story...I'm about to start something new too and with every new project, I have to give myself a little push to get past those first tiptoeing steps.

I'm also writing to let you know you've been tagged. You can view details from my blog entry today. Since I see you've already been tagged recently, you can just answer a couple of my questions if you can. Look forward to your responses!

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