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Fake It Till You Make It – Not Letting Nerves Destroy You

When I get nervous I feel physically sick. This weight drops in my stomach, the back of my neck begins to prickle, and I feel like I want to leap out of my own skin. Sometimes I get to the point where I feel like I might start vibrating on the spot there’s so much nervous energy whirling around inside me. That’s how I feel every time I start to think about finishing my book and starting to look for literary agents. When the chance to submit to a poetry competition crosses my desk. When I ask someone to pass an opinion on my writing.

Nerves are just something that I’ve had to learn to live with.

As I’ve got older I’ve managed to reign them in a bit. The first two days of secondary school were hell mostly because of my nerves, and the way that they made me feel like I was about to puke my guts up at any second. These days I’m able to remind myself that it’s okay to be nervous, but it’s not okay to let those things get in the way of what I want to do. It doesn’t always work, but I’m great at pretending I’m confident in situations where I’m actually scared witless. Have you heard of the phrase ‘fake it till you make it?’ Well that is something of a moto for me. Fake like you know it until you do. Fake like you’re a kick-arse, no bullshit taking, cool as chips chick until I am.

I don’t know if it always comes across that way, but I try.

Writing is one of the areas in my life where I’ve learnt that they can be no room for my nerves. If they’re the thing holding me back from hitting publish then I should click that little blue button all the harder. If they’re telling me that I might not be good enough to enter that poetry competition then I should be trying to prove them wrong. If they want to freeze up at the idea I might actually finish this novel within the month then open that laptop and get writing!

If my nerves are holding me back then I’ve got to fight all the harder and go for it because I do not want to be kicking myself fifty years down the line wishing I’d taken more risks when I had the chance.

It doesn’t always work. The first time I went to judo a few months ago I froze in the doorway and almost turned around to head back to the car. That sick feeling, the prickles, I had it all and stepping into the room seemed impossible. I made myself though. It was one of the reasons I decided to take judo up. It was something I’d never done and something I knew I’d find hard to get myself to do at first. It involved new people, a new sport, a new environment. Three things that set off every alarm possible in my head. But once the first session was over and I walked out of there, I felt good about myself. I felt proud that the nerves hadn’t conquered me.

That one incident didn’t cure me. The idea of doing a grading is still enough to bring all those lovely symptoms rushing back, but I’m hoping I’ll get there in the end. The people I do judo with are lovely and supportive, and the coach is such a friendly guy that I don’t worry about looking like an idiot in front of him.

My nerves are something I battle on almost a daily basis, but I’m learning ways to push past the fear and do things that I’m finding I love.

It’s not easy. It’s downright difficult and exhausting at time.

But it’s worth it.

So very, very worth it.

 

This entry was posted in: Blog

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Carol Forrester is a writer trying to be a better one. She’s currently working on a poetry collection 'It's All In The Blood'. She has a 2:1 BA degree in history from Bath Spa University, enjoys judo at least twice a week, and tries to attend poetry events around the Midlands when she can. Her flash fiction story ‘Glorious Silence’ was named as River Ram Press’ short story of the month for August 2014 and her short story ‘A Visit From The Fortune Teller’ has been showcased on the literary site Ink Pantry. Her poems ‘Sunsets’ and ‘Clear Out‘ were featured on Eyes Plus Words, and two of her poems were included in the DVerse Poets Pub Publication ‘Chiaroscuro’ which is available for purchase on amazon. More recently her poem ‘Until The Light Gets In‘ was accepted and published at The Drabble and her poem ‘Newborn’ was published by Ink Sweat & Tears. She has been lucky enough to write guest posts for sites such as Inky Tavern and Song of The Forlorn and has hosted a number of guest bloggers on her site Writing and Works.

4 Comments

  1. “Fake it till you make it” is definitely something athletes in performing sports are told! Ha ha – it’s not easy overcoming nerves, but I think at some point you just have “not care” what people are thinking of you, which will greatly help as well 🙂

  2. I enjoyed reading this post. My life all through out school was exactly like this. To the point where when it was my turn to present a speech in front of my class I would go running to the bathroom instead because I would feel sick. It’s definitely something you have to work on to make life easier.

    • Surprisingly I’m not too bad with speeches and presentations. As long as I’m prepared they don’t make me nervous. It’s the new things that really throw me. It’s good to hear that I’m not the only one who get that sick in the pit of your stomach feeling though.

  3. After completely hashing it up with anxiety last year, I find myself myself having this conversation more and more. It’s a good one to have, it keeps you on the tracks (as does the beta blockers. I’m seriously in love with the stuff XD). But it’s also good to see the silver linings, in accepting and being aware of the nerves, you’re giving yourself more material to play with. And when balanced properly, it does make you Badass (I owe many a first to anxiety fueled night-before-deadlines XD) xxx

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