What do you feed your Cowardly Lion?

The Cowardly Lion, Wizard of OzI *do* believe in spooks,
I *do* believe in spooks.
I do, I do, I do,
I *do* believe in spooks,
I *do* believe in spooks,
I do, I do, I do, I *do*!
The Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz

Fear, worry, panic — oh my!

They’re almost every creative’s steadfast companions. Because regardless how good we are, professional writers are expendable. Freelance, full time, part time, no time…there’s a Stop sign at the end of almost every Client Road.

(Gives ya the warm fuzzies, huh? Yeah, me too.)

Yet even though we know this, we’re still rattled when something in our work environment changes. New editor? New director? Someone leaving? Client folding?

What ever shall we do?

Here’s the problem: Evolution has hardwired us to seek more information about what’s scaring us so we can protect ourselves. Our imaginations can go nuts.

Here’s the thing: The Cowardly Lion never got much done by himself and if you’re gripped by fear, neither will you.

Here’s the good news: You decide what to feed your Cowardly Lion — panic-inducing information or empowering information.

The only thing worse than information overload is fear overload. Deliberately seeking out negative input will only reduce you to a trembling lump that’s so freaked out, you can’t plan your next steps.

Instead, look for information that empowers you to take action.

Here are some sources of empowering information I seek based on some of my own panic triggers…

Hey, this article says that being a writer is hard!

Seriously, is this news? C’mon. Instead of dwelling on the difficulty and worse — finding more articles that tell me I’m doomed to failure — I want information on how to make it work. These are some blogs and sites I like best:

Whatever your niche’, each these sites have information to help you take action. See? Feels better already.

This forum’s full of writers who can’t find clients!

Yeah…let’s be honest here. Too many writers (myself included) don’t market themselves enough. Which makes finding clients difficult. Instead of looking for more forums full of news that makes me feel doomed to poverty, I need a marketing plan that brings in clients.

Here’s another forum full of writers with horror stories about clients!

Back to honesty…writers are like any other type of professional; sometimes we need to vent to people who understand. Instead of taking it as evidence that I’m doomed to a lifetime of professional abuse, how ’bout I:

  • See what these clients have in common and make a list of warning signs.
  • Consider putting some new clauses in your contract.
  • Find out how others handled the situation.

Next time you start to panic, look up actionable steps that move you forward. It’s way better for your nerves than curling up in a nervous ball. And who knows? You just might earn yourself a badge of courage.

Cowardly Lion Badge of CourageRead what my medal says: “Courage”. Ain’t it the truth? Ain’t it the truth?
— The Cowardly Lion (who wound up kicking some serious butt)

What are some of your biggest panic triggers? How do you empower your Cowardly Lion?

5 thoughts on “What do you feed your Cowardly Lion?”

  1. Happy Dancing in May, Erica!
    I just re-read this, probably from one of your comments at Carol Tice’s 😉 – and
    boy-Howdy am I in a “better place” regarding my fears and panics than last fall – thanks in large part to this particular post. You’ve done a fab-you-lous job of taking a common problem, cocking your head and looking at it from a less-than-common angle, and telling a story with an *actionable* (small barf) moral to it!
    Thanks again ~

    1. Hi Karen,

      Oh wow, thank you. So glad you found it helpful and are doing better. 🙂

      PS – Sorry for the late reply; just got back from my honeymoon.

      1. And I didn’t even see your Reply (clicked over from Carol’s agin 🙂 ) ~

        Also, reminding myself (again! It’s such a deep thing to get past) to ‘cock my head’ at my fears and renegotiate what they’re doing in order to complete their mission of ‘keeping me safe’ (HT to Havi Brooks for the concept of “Talking to your Monsters”).

        Much love and blessings to you and your new partner ~

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