Dreams: The Fear Factor


Today it’s my privilege to host Jenny Hansen as my Life List Club guest blogger.

Find Jenny on Twitter at jhansenwrites or over at More Cowbell. She’s also a founding member of the Writers In The Storm blog.




Dreams are a funny thing.

Most nightly dreams fade away in the morning rush. The nightmares that sometimes come scorch a familiar path through our REM sleep, as if they were a ribbon unwinding from a psychic spool. Waking dreams stay tucked inside our hearts as we go about our daily journey.

It’s the waking dreams I want to talk about. Those amorphous goals we chase every day we put our fingers to our keyboard or our pens to paper. Waking dreams are constant, so real we can see them. So fragile we worry about breaking them.

I was watching Tangled the other day with Baby Girl. She loves the music and the movement and will sit with me for more than hour, completely mesmerized by each character. Especially Maximus…that child adores Maximus. (He’s a most heroic horse, for all of you that haven’t added Tangled to your movie collection.)


There are Disney movies that I try not to let her watch because of the message (yes, really, and have you noticed how many mothers die in these movies??) but Tangled is about dreams. If you read my post about focusing on your story’s DNA, you’d know “dreams” are the silken thread of theme that weaves through Tangled.

There’s a scene in the movie – just before the end of Act 2, for all you writing types – that perfectly describes the funny, capricious nature of dreams:

Reaching for your dreams is scary.

It takes some serious nerve to lay your heart open and shout to the world, “THIS is what I want more than anything.” To throw your all into the fray and reach for a dream takes guts and, something I struggle with, patience.

Here’s the scene:

[In the boat, Rapunzel sighs, suddenly feeling afraid]

Flynn Rider: [noticing the look on Rapunzel’s face] You OK?

Rapunzel: [whispers] I’m terrified.

Flynn Rider: [softly] Why?

Rapunzel: I’ve been looking out a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what it might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything that I dreamed it would be?

Flynn Rider: It will be.

Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?

Flynn Rider: Well that’s the good part, I guess. You get to go find a new dream.


What a great scene, huh? Most people struggle with dreams on a daily basis. I believe, for a writer, chasing dreams is the hardest struggle of all.

We creative types worry about the damnedest things…I think I’ve got the most common fears summed up below:

· What if I write the book and nobody buys it?

· What if I write the book and everybody buys it…can I be that brilliant again?

· Who would want to read what I have to say?

· When I say what I have to say, they’ll know who I am.

Every time an artist creates they’re shouting to the world, “this is who I am.” That’s a scary, heady, mind-blowing thing. The downside? If the work is found wanting, it feels like WE are being rejected too. How do you deal with that?


For me, I just strap on my Big Girl Titanium Panties and do the next thing. If I stop and think about the fear, I’ll hyperventilate.

No, seriously…how does a writer go on when things are in the crapper? When rejections roll in and plots stall and blog posts bomb?

· Friends. Wine. Family. Tequila. These are helpful things when the going is ROUGH.

· A supportive critique group is amazing.

· A writing network is priceless. This could be your local writing chapter, or online groups like #ROW80 or The Life List Club.

· Writing communities like #myWANA on Twitter or SheWrites can help too.

How do you deal with the Fear Factor of dreams? What do you do when it’s time to make a new dream?




JenC-B Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after the newly walking Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing.


Jenny is an avid seeker of “more”…More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! Finding those qualities that are unique in every person and every piece of fiction gets her all fired up. Whether it’s words or skills, hobbies or jobs, Jenny wants to hear more about your “COWBELL.”



About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
This entry was posted in Archives and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Dreams: The Fear Factor

  1. Hartford says:

    Loved this post and loved the titanium panties. I wonder if they would qualify as “Christian panties”. Oh well, I am sure they would since there’s no way anyone’s gettin’ past them! LOL!
    Thanks for spreading the wealth of your knowledge and experience. You make this writing thing seem way less scary!


  2. Pingback: Strengths, Weaknesses, Goals, The Adventure Begins « Kate MacNicol~

  3. DM says:

    Excellent subject. Great blog.


  4. Fun, inspirational, and perfect Jenny. David, thank you so much for hosting my dear friend. PS – I want to see Tangled. If Baby Girl was mesmerized, I should be too. 🙂


  5. Jess Witkins says:

    This post was so much fun, Jenny! Tangled is a really cute movie and you shared a great lesson for us all from it. Reminds me of what Kristen Lamb talked about where the fear of success is scarier than the fear of failure. But then again, you’ve got titanium panties to see you through the tough times. That sure beats depends! LOL


  6. Beautifully written post Jenny. I’m going to a Donald Maass weeklong intensive class and now that’s it’s drawing closer I think, “oh no what did I sign up for? I should have gone to N.Y.C. with my friends.” But no. I know he’s a great teacher (he’s looking at my first 50 pages and synopsis eeekkkk and I get feedback eeeeeekkk) and I’m scared spitless that I’ve set the bar to high. Your post and Jess’s over at Marcia’s Life List blog are just the kick I need to be brave.

    Who knew you’d give me a pair of titanium panties???? LOL! I’ll think of those when I’m at the workshop Thanks Jenny and congrats David for joining the club. Looking forward to your goals as well.


  7. Jenny Hansen says:

    Amber, don’t you LOVE that scene in the tower where he whips out “his smolder?” Then when his chair topples, he whines: “You broke my smolder!”

    Thanks for stopping in!


  8. Thanks for stopping by, Amber. I’m sure Jenny will add a reply.


  9. Fabulous post! You hit the nail on the head. I know I’ve been terrified of both getting my dream and not getting it. Seems ridiculous when you think about it logically but there it is. Thanks for reminding me to go for it anyway.


    • Thanks for stopping by, Sonia. I know Jenny appreciates your comments.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sonia, I find it strange too…I originally called this post, “The Funny Thing About Dreams.”

      I wouldn’t have believed it, but I’ve seen it in myself.

      We’re going to do a “throw down” on it over at WITS the last week of Sept…More Afraid To Succeed vs. More Afraid NOT to Succeed. 🙂


  10. Barb Estinson says:

    I enjoyed Jenny’s post … and can relate to it well. I love the big girl titanium panties image!!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Barb, aren’t those AWESOME?? Laura Drake, one of my pals at Writers In The Storm found those on Google with a search for “beer can underwear.” Who would have thought of it, right?


  11. Laura Drake says:

    What do I do when I have to change dreams? Wallow in self-pity. No, really, it’s awful. I mope, I whine, I’m testy. For two days to a week.

    Then I shake myself off, apologize to those who still love me (those who don’t anymore can kiss my…) and get started on the NEXT thing. I plow ahead onto the next goal (being Ukranian is good for some things…strong peasant stock,)

    Great post, Jenny.


  12. Marcia says:

    I think you’ve captured quite well what we all feel from time to time. What a great plan to get through it, too! Excellent post, Jenny!
    Hope you’re enjoying your first LLC Friday, David! Happy you’re with us!


  13. jenniefire says:

    I love tangled!! And your so right that scene is a gem 🙂 Thinking about it, I don’t deal with the fear factor very well, but I tell myself that it doesn’t matter. that I’m going to do it anyway and whatever happens, happens. All I know is that I feel like I was meant to write and everything that comes of that comes. Life is a grab bag of good and bad and we all have go through it!


  14. hawleywood40 says:

    Wonderful post Jenny – I need to dig out my “Big Girl Titanium Panties” as I’ve been having one of those life-is-too-stressful-for-writing kind of stretches. Wonderful advice as always and I love the sense of humor with which you approach chasing your dreams! David, welcome again to the LLC : )!


  15. Jenny Hansen says:

    Look at the first LLC post on ytour site…what an honor, David. Thanks for hosting me!

    Now for the rest of you…let’s talk Fear Factor. 🙂


Comments are closed.