Tag Archives: advice

Fear and sitting

I’ve been deep in the middle of work on my “tea stories” and my coaching business. It’s incredibly exciting and energizing. And, at the same time, I’ll be honest–a lot of fear comes up: the fierce fear of failure that comes up when I go for my dreams.

Along with looking fear in the face, I’m watching my baby grow–and out of this mix come certain thoughts. Here are a few from the period (a few months ago) when William was learning to sit.


My baby is learning to sit. At first he sat precariously posed like a little frog–his arms and hands splayed out to keep from toppling over. He wobbled there for a moment, and then, in slow motion, tipped over.

Sometimes, after toppling to the floor, he cries. At other times he tumbles over without complaint, only to find himself on his stomach–and then begins to cry.


Each time he cries, I remember a lesson I’ve learned over the years: how important it is to feel my feelings. Whenever I try to stifle fear, frustration, or other “negative” feelings, they go underground, where they sabotage me in other ways: Instead of writing or working on my business, I fritter away time on administrative tasks. I hyperfocus on some minor issue until it drains my emotional energy, read articles on the web for hours, get sidetracked by Facebook, or spend the day “researching” with a barely-relevant historical novel. But when I actually let myself feel my feelings, they run through me. I’m borne along in their intensity, drenched in the storm. And then, when the storm passes, I feel a deep, clean calm.

This is what I see in William. When he’s upset, he cries. He doesn’t suppress his feelings. He doesn’t stew. He lets his feelings out, and then he moves on.


He keeps trying, keeps failing, and keeps learning. As he learns, I learn too. There’s the obvious lesson: he’s learning because he’s willing to fail again and again. There’s another lesson: even though every attempt to sit ends in failure (he always topples over eventually), in the overall scheme of things, he is succeeding. As time passes, he sits for longer and longer without wobbling–longer and longer before he tumbles to the floor. Day by day, he’s transforming from a baby who can’t sit to one who can.

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Write or Die

Sometimes, as writers, we need a little structure to keep us going. And some lighthearted humor doesn’t hurt either.

Write or Die is a great website that provides both. You open a text box and type into it. As long as you keep writing, all is well. But stop for too long, and the consequences begin: annoying sounds, grating music… or something even more dire.

Personally, I find it really helpful on those days when it’s hard to get going–or keep going. As Dr. Wicked (the mastermind behind the idea) would say, Write or Die helps “put the ‘prod’ in productivity.”