Saturday, October 23, 2021


Fear Itself

By Christine Gunderson


This month we're writing about fear. There's a lot of grist for this particular mill lurking in my subconscious. I fear all the usual things; snakes, heights, enclosed spaces, dark alleys at night. I also fear driving on the Beltway, people not liking me and a worldwide shortage of gluten free Twinkies.


But Patty Blount, another writer here at YA Outside the Lines, eloquently touched on a less visceral fear, and that's the fear of giving up and giving in, of no longer doing the thing that makes you YOU. An athlete who no longer gets off the couch. A gifted teacher doing admin work. An inventor who follows someone's else's plan. A painter who gives up painting. A writer who quits writing.


I'm busy now with the world open again. Activities on hiatus during Covid are back with a vengeance, along with the time and driving that goes with them.


I've been doing final revisions on my manuscript since September, and I'm still not done. Each week I watch my writing time leach into trips to the pediatrician for covid, strep and flu tests every time someone gets a sore throat. My writing time melts into good things too, like birthday party planning and selling concessions to raise money for activities important to my kids. 


But at the end of yet another day without writing, a little voice whispers, give it up. It's not important. Your kids need you. It's self-indulgent. It'll never lead to anything. You're too busy. It's a waste of time. 


Giving into that little voice is my greatest fear. 


I fight this voice by reminding myself that days with writing are a thousand times better than days without, that I'm happier, kinder, more patient, more observant, more everything when I'm writing.


Life without writing is a half-life, a faint copy of something vibrant. Without writing I'm a half- person, depriving the universal puzzle of a tiny jigsaw piece. 


I believe we each have a mission, a reason for being here, and I believe the gifts and talents endowed by our creator, whoever you believe that creator to be, are given to us so we can fulfill this mission in the world.  


Engineers have to build. Teachers have to teach. Gardeners have to grow. Soldiers have to fight. Writers have to write.


What is your mission? And what gifts were you given to fulfil it? How do you fight against the voices of fear and doubt that attempt to derail you, to keep you from doing the job that only you can do, from creating the thing that only you can create?


Missions are hard. Most people choose not to accept them. But when we fight past the doubt, we become the person we are supposed to be, and the reward is a life without fear of failure or fear of success. True courage is taking the time, investing the energy, to be who we really are.




Christine Gunderson is writer who lives outside Washington, D.C. with her husband, children and Star the Wonder dog. When not writing, she’s sailing, playing Star Wars trivia, re-reading Persuasion, or unloading the dishwasher. You can reach her at


  1. Killer last paragraph. I needed to hear that.

    1. I'm glad I wrote something someone needed to hear as I remind myself of what I need to remember :-)

  2. There's another aspect as well. As an avid reader as well as a writer, think what would happen id writers DID give up. I've been known to read the classified ads in the newspaper when out of books. Imagine that desperation multiplied bu a couple thousand. It might make a zombie apocalypse pale in comparison.

  3. That's a great point! I often think about what the world would be like if we all has the same gifts and talents. A word where everyone can do math would have lots of roads and bridges an no books. A world where everyone can write would have collapsing buildings and no music :-) We need it all to make the world whole :-)