Fear + Lists

I spend a lot of time spiraling into "what ifs." Sometimes that works really well for me, like when I'm writing a story and I need my characters to do something interesting. Other times... my brain gets stuck playing a worst case scenario marathon, staring a dumber, less likable version of me. FUN!

One thing that has made it better is making lists. I once read that if you are afraid you can't do something (like say, applying to MFA programs or something, IDK), you should make a list of 100 fears related to your goal. No fear is too big, too small, or too unrealistic. For instance, "My fingers falling off and never being able to write again" was #20 on my list.

Once you get going, it turns out 100 fears is A LOT of worst case scenarios. I made it to 37 before I gave up. Once you have your list, it feels kind of impressive to stare at the limits of your overactive brain. Also later, when you feel yourself spiraling into your familiar fears, you can mentally be like, "Already catalogued it. Time to move on."

But the best part is when your deadlines/goals/big scary event has passed, and you can look back at your list. I was terrified of never hearing from a professor (#1) and missing an application deadline (#3) — then both those things happened, and things turned out okay anyway. And when other fears turn out to be unfounded, like not getting into a program this year (#9) or ever (#10), or getting in without funding (#11),  it was a nice reminder that fear can have very little to do with reality. So the moral of this story is lists solve everything. (JK but this is a nice reminder for me that it's probably time for me to make a new one.)

Words written this week: 2,381. (More than last week! But I also deleted a lot of last week's words too :(