This week's writing prompt fits in with the Halloween season: My biggest fear.
I'm not a brave person, never have been. As a kid, I feared getting into trouble, because punishment usually involved painful spankings and humiliation. That fear lingers. I don't worry about a physical whupping, but humiliation still burns. The older I get, the more I fear being hurt. Where I once might have faced off a fractious horse, I now duck aside because I am cognizant of my own mortality.
I suffer many fears large and small, most hidden behind a facade of reserve. Other fears I have no problem in expressing. I cringe and squeal like a coward when faced with wasps, cockroaches, spiders, and rats. On the first trail ride on Diva (aka "the monster"), I ducked, squirmed, and squealed as she plowed through every single spider web on the trail. The horse did a stellar job of concentrating on the business at hand rather than the idiot on her back. I couldn't fault her there.
I fear failure. Who doesn't? But I fail often enough that failure itself has become an old friend. It's almost comforting to know that, yep, once again just wasn't good enough. So, I'll lick my wounds and sulk for a while, then hoist myself up by my own bootstraps to try again.
Any author who doesn't get accustomed to failure will never succeed. At least that's what I tell myself. If I'm going to write--and I am--then the discouraging fizzle of book after book cannot prevent me from trying again with a new story, a new plot, maybe even a new genre.
But what's my biggest fear? I don't know. Perhaps it's the fear of disappointing those close to me or the fear of disappointing myself. Or something greater. I tend toward obsession and melancholy and must always guard against backsliding into acute depression. My younger son likes to state that writers have a higher rate of mental illness than other professions ... hint ... hint.
Some things are best kept private.