"I discovered that my decision was only a question of whether I preferred to be governed by fear or by a creative feeling, and although I was very frightened I knew I could not choose fear. The panic terrors that came in the night might scare me half to death, but I would never let them decide things for me. Then and there I invented this rule for myself to be applied to every decision I might have to make in the future. I would sort out all the arguments and see which belonged to fear and which to creativeness, and all other things being equal I would make the decision which had the larger number of creative reasons on its side. I think it must be a rule something like this that makes jonquils and crocuses come pushing through cold mud."
This passage reminds me of standing on the edge of a lake, my bare toes digging into the rocky sand in the agitation of indecision, the skin on my arms relishing the warmth of the sun while prickling with anticipatory goose bumps. To enter the watery world or stay safely upright, grounded? It is only fear that makes me hesitate. I can’t see the bottom of the lake. I know my body will behave differently in liquid and I will have to create a new rhythm for my breath. Even though I am a confident, experienced swimmer, that moment of hesitation is always there. I must jump, run, dive, push off. Dipping my toes and creeping in only extends the hesitation and draws out the agony, allowing the battle between fear and adventure to gather steam. Fear has time to call in the reinforcements of skepticism, self criticism, and contentment, that trio so capable of hauling a wet blanket down over any tender shoots of creative energy.
This why any new writer is admonished to write daily, to develop a consistent writing habit. Consistency is ammunition for the battle; a writing habit can push you past the creativity-draining moment of hesitation, the moment when fear can so readily win the day, or the week, or the year.
It is really the jonquil’s habit to show up every spring. For the crocus the cold mud is not so much a barrier as a call to action. What is the cold mud in your life that threatens to hold your creative spirit back and keep you from blooming? Fear is a sly trickster and can disguise itself as rationality or duty or even a long list of ‘essential’ chores! What would happen if you just did it anyway? If you just sat down, right now and pulled out a notebook or opened a blank document page, and just began?