Wild Women Writing Challenge View in browser

“It may be that the human race is not ready for freedom. The air of liberty may be too rarefied for us to breathe. Certainly I wouldn’t be writing this book, on this subject, if living with freedom was easy. The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is freeonly to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.”

--Steven Pressfield, the War of Art

Fear (and Freedom)

Go toward the fear.

I say that a lot.

Obviously, you shouldn’t go towards something that you feel a rational, personal-safety fear of. Don’t go over the cliff...but do go toward it, do peek over the precipice. And I'm not so much talking about bodily fear. 

The fear I want you to go toward is the kind that prevents you from writing. 

For me, as a writer, fear is a powerful compass. If I follow the arrow that points to “this is scary and makes me uncomfortable,” I tend to find lots of creative energy that can be channeled in many directions. And truly, even with my bodily fears, such as my severe thalassophobia (fear of deep water), I can still see where there is so much juice for writing!

Today’s challenge: you + fear = go!

Let’s go with freewriting/stream of consciousness as your “genre,” but add some structure to the actual writing practice by using a timer. Go for 15 minutes, without stopping, then take a timed 5-minute break. Drink water, shake out your body, jump around, go outside. Then do 10 more minutes with the timer.  


  • Write a story about a quirky phobia and/or go deep into a lived experience of raw, paralyzing fear.
  • Discuss your relationship with fear. How do you define it, what does it feel like in your body, what learned behaviors has it taught you?
  • Does fear motivate you, or does it hold you back? Does it keep you safe, or does it put you in a cage?  
  • What about your relationship with freedom? How does freedom feel, in every sense, in your body and your life? Do you know?
  • Are freedom and fear interconnected for you? How so?
Come and share!

Thalassophobia. Artist unknown.


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