Q: I want to write, especially romantic fiction, but every time I sit down to start my mind goes blank and my heart starts to beat wildly. I’m afraid to write. What should I do?

A: Let’s take a look at what’s going on. My bet is that Fear is bullying you. Did you know she’s a liar? Oh, yes. She’ll whisper all sorts of things in your ear to stop you from being creative and achieving your dreams. Here’s a “cure” I have shared with writers I’ve mentored in my online writing courses.

Go to Costco, Wal-Mart or any large grocery store. Buy the heftiest jar of peanut butter you can find. Take a serving spoon and make Fear open her mouth. Then scoop in at least three spoonfuls. Withhold all milk or other liquids. If necessary, repeat each day. That should at least give you some time out from Fear.

Seriously?

Just because I have ghosted and written bestsellers and novels, like my newest Doubts of the Heart, I’m not immune to Fear’s wrath of lies. Oh, that liar had me in a snit when brainstorming this “connected” world faith-based novel, especially after the incredible success of my first, Games of the Heart.

She had attempted to convince me I was a one-hit wonder in the romance/mystery genre. She “said” that readers wouldn’t like my protagonist Nica Dobson as much as the ultra-quirky Pastor Jane.

Fear tried to say that my theme, of how we often must forgive ourselves as well as others, was corny, clichéd, commonplace. Obviously Fear likes word play at much as I do, but I didn’t care for her criticism.

As the agitation grew, I thought of hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky. He said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” I truly believe this.

I wrote the book, keeping that humongous container of peanut butter handy if Fear even cleared her throat. And now you’ll get to read it.

Consider this poem, attributed to 1950s comedy legend Milton Berle.

I’d rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are;
Because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star.
I’d rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far;
For a might have-been has never been, but a has been was once an are.

Okay, here’s your assignment. Yes, as a matter of fact I can do this to you since I’m a recovering English professor and a mom. For the next thirty-one days, pretend you are fearless. Fearless means not reacting when Fear is poking you and taunting you. Ignore her.

To ensure that you’re going to start that novel, I have been appointed (by myself) as your Writing Fairy God Mother, WFGM. Now get ready because I’ve covered you with magical dust so you can forget all about Fear. Except to make this work you must believe.

Wait? Where did you go? Oh, there you are. You’re writing. I’m proud of you.

Thank you for allowing me to share magical writing dust and the peanut butter cure.

~ Your WFGM Eva Shaw, author of Games of the Heart and Doubts of the Heart

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