Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Everyday Courage

I've been thinking about courage lately. What we often consider "courage" is really the sum total of a series of little steps that someone takes, even if sometimes they don't want to.

Today I read this in Holly Lisle's "Mugging the Muse" e-book, which eloquently explains the nebulous musings wandering around in my brain:

My definition of courage is nothing more than taking one step more than you think you can. It has nothing to do with feeling or not feeling fear, with doing great deeds (though sometimes courage accomplishes great deeds), or with conquering life-and-death situations (though in such situations it is certainly helpful.)

Courage is a form of tenaciousness, a refusal to quit when you want to quit because you're tired or humiliated or broken, and it is as necessary in everyday life as it is in moments of great upheaval. In fact, I could easily say that everyday courage is more important than the "great deeds" sort because every one of us will be in everyday situations, while not all of us will be called upon in our lifetimes to perform great deeds.

Courage is as essential to the writer as oxygen, no more and no less. The writer who lacks courage will never succeed.

Courage is working on your goals, step by dogged step, even if you don't feel like it.  Courage is venturing out of that "safe" zone, where you put a little bit of your soul on the page. Courage is pushing through the "my writing is total crap" stage. Courage is handing your writing over to a critique partner. Courage is clicking "Send" on that query letter email. Courage is looking at a hill ahead, cringing, and running up it anyway, because sometimes the harder you work for something, the more it's worth it.

(Aside: I love Holly Lisle's workshops, and even though she has an affiliate program, I do not participate in it. I simply share the good stuff I find.)

So, now that we've looked a little closer at courage, I have a question for you. Where do you find your courage?

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