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Fear Hierarchy

July 26, 2021– This week, we’ll be wrapping up Public Speaking for authors, which was our theme for July! Today we’re going to focus on something really cool that I had no idea existed until a few days ago; let’s dig into Fear Hierarchy and how authors can use it to overcome their fears of public speaking!

What is Fear Hierarchy? It’s defined as a list of fears in order of least afraid to most afraid with the goal of exposure to the situations to dispel the fears listed. As you immerse yourself and check your list off one by one, your confidence will grow, and you’ll be speaking in public as an expert in no time!

Sample hierarchy list: (Remember, this has to be unique to you! Write your list from least to most afraid)

  1. Read an article out loud to a friend. A newspaper or short article from a magazine will suffice.
  2. Ask a question. Next time you’re at a meeting, conference, or retreat, raise your hand and ask a question.
  3. Make a toast. When you’re out to dinner with family or friends, make a short, impromptu toast to celebrate being in each other’s company and enjoying your time together.
  4. Host a book club talk. By hosting book club, you’ll get to dig into subjects that matter to your participants. Maybe you want to talk about plot structure, setting, or character development, but whatever you choose, leading the talk will help you practice speaking to a larger group with a clear idea in mind.
  5. Speak to a small group about a subject you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s in a library setting, at a local chapter of crime writers, or a writing group of up-and-coming authors who are interested in publishing children’s books. Testing your skills in a small group is less intimidating than standing on stage in front of hundreds of people. This will let you test the water, answer real questions, and interact with your listeners.
  6. Host a workshop or class based on your knowledge. Now it’s time for the big show! You’re the featured speaker, and this is the thing that scares you most on your list! By now, you’ve had some great exposure and are ready to share your knowledge with your audience confidently.

Make a fear hierarchy of your own and expose yourself to the public speaking situations that intimidate you. Before you know it, you’ll be an old pro who has no fear of getting up on stage and saying your piece!

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Scared? Good.

February 8, 2021-Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “What you are afraid to do is a clear indication of the next thing that you need to do.” If you’re scared to do something, good. Why? Because it means that you’re alive and still growing. You’re courageous and you may not have all the answers, but you’re willing to bet on yourself that you’ll figure it out. What are you afraid of in your writing life? That’s what you need to do next.

We’ve all been scared and being afraid comes with the territory of being an author. Writing things for the world to read, that you can never get back, is the epitome of being vulnerable. What if they don’t like it? What if I never sell a single book? What if I’m ridiculed by my peers? What if my dream of becoming an author doesn’t work out? Those are the risks that we take in this business. And I would rather risk it all than have a life half lived. Sometimes the worst place we can be is inside our own head with that little voice shouting, “Don’t do it, it’s too risky!” We don’t expand our inner or outer world when we stay inside of our comfort zones. The only way, is through. Through the fear, through the self-doubt, and through the uncertainty.

What are you afraid of as an author? Write about it. Put it on your characters. And then run toward it as fast as you can.

A baby bird and a mother bird were sitting in their nest one day. The mother bird said to it’s baby, “Today is the day that you leave the nest!” The baby bird turned to it’s mother and said, “I’m too afraid, it’s safe here and what if I fall?” The mother bird smiled and said, “Oh but, darling! What if you fly?” 

So, my dear baby birds, I know you’re not afraid of the branch breaking, because your trust is not in the branch, but in your own wings.

What are you afraid of?

July 29, 2019– We’re all afraid of something! Let’s talk about it on this week’s podcast. Click on the link below to hear what I have to say and maybe what I’m afraid of:)