Just Do It ~ Megan Derr: Outside the Margins

Join us as Megan Derr goes Outside the Margins.

Megan-Derr-OtM

Just Do It

Last month, during Wizard World Comic Con, I was fortunate to attend Tyler Hoechlin’s Q&A panel. One of the question stuck with me because the woman who asked it sounded frustrated by his answer, and later at our table while chatting with us mentioned how frustrated she, in fact, was.

I don’t recall the exact wording, but the question boiled down to how exactly Tyler did scary things like auditions, surfing, etc. I think the woman was more interested in auditions and similar such. And Tyler’s answer was essentially ‘you just do it’.

Which is an accurate answer. When it comes down to it, you step up and you do it. You grit your teeth, you choke on the scream or the fit of tears, and you just do it. You get a similar thing in writing. How do you write? One word at a time. You just do it. As Neil Gaiman said, it’s that easy and that hard.

But I can see where that’s not a very helpful answer either, especially for people who are still held back by their fears.

I don’t know if I can help overmuch, but I am a person constantly afraid or nervous of many things, most of them revolving around interacting with people. I was the one who always accidentally whispered her class presentations, and then cried after they were done as all the terror of it finally drained out of me. I am one of many who is eternally grateful that I can email or text so much now, instead of having to call and call and call. Back when my shoulder first started hurting, I put off calling a doctor for six months because I dreaded both phones and doctors that much. I was so scared of driving I managed to put it off until I was twenty-seven.

Any of this sounding familiar? Well, there’s your first step in not letting fear hold you back. You’re not alone, most of the people around you probably have the same or very similar fears. Afraid of embarrassment? Let me tell you about the time I was so groggy and running late I dressed in the dark and didn’t notice until after I’d gotten to the office (with lots of walking and a 45 minutes bus ride where plenty of people saw me) that I was wearing two different shoes. And that’s just one of many, many such stories I have of me and my brilliant moments. I had to give a presentation in college, I had four points to go over. At the end of three I basically did the whole “and that’s that” thing and only the roomful of blank faces made me realize I’d skipped an entire quarter of my presentation. And it was even worse when I had to do presentations for Japanese class.

Everyone has such stories, because in the end that is what these dumb moments become:  stories. To make other people laugh, to calm other people down, to remind yourself that the world won’t end if you fuck up or do something stupid or didn’t get accepted this time around.

But you won’t have those stories if you don’t first live them. So you think about all the reason this is worth the stress, you remember that you are not alone and everyone you talk to has a story that will make you cry laughing, and you remember that in a few years it’ll be just one more story for you to tell someone else. And you just do it.

~ Megan Derr

About Megan Derr

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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One thought on “Just Do It ~ Megan Derr: Outside the Margins

  1. I acutally think that “Just Do it” is perfect. 😀
    I can’t say that I’ve experienced the same fear that you have – indeed, I’ve been going to doctors my whole life, so I’m kinda used to them but still. Fear can be crippling.
    I’m an overthinker – whenever I say something, the next minute I’ll be thinking “OMG why did I say that? Is she angry? Do I need to do something else? etc” That’s the kind of fear that I have to deal with. It might not be the worst but it certainly isn’t comfortable for me. I’m extremly sensitive, I misread about everything wrong. How do I deal with that? I ask if my feelings were received or not. Constantly. I end up needing assurance in order to feel good (or better).
    One of my biggest fears, that crippled me in many ways, was the fear to disappoint my family. All of them are overachiver, all of them are academics. After school I had to study something – no matter what, a degree was a must. I failed the medicin admission test and started studying business. I’ve had health problems my whole life, and while studying business, I didn’t have to be there the whole time – I could learn from home. It was perfect.
    Until it wasn’t.
    I needed a lot of help to pass the first four tests in the winter term. In the summer term I had to stay in bed because I was ill. That pattern repeated itself three years. Then, last summer I had to have a hip arthroscopy. I couldn’t walk for weeks before they finally did it and afterwards it took months to get better (actually it still isn’t well…) but in that time I told myself to stop.
    I can only change so much in my life. I’ll always be sensible to infects, I’ll always end up being ill because of reasons. (there are too many.) but I won’t be happy studying something that just isn’t for me. I hate calculations, I tried accounting and management control (the first out of three) three times. I had help, my family spent a lot of money to help me pass, I learned hard for two to three months – I failed each time. I was the first one out of my old school class to start studying business and everyone surpassed me after the second year. It was humilitating.
    Over the years I tried to talk with my family, but they just said – choose something else. I couldn’t find anything. I didn’t want to learn any of these subjects. I didn’t think they were interesting. I decided to keep going, to just survive and then everything will be better. Honestly – I didn’t want to study anylonger. I like learning stuff, but I hated learning THIS kind of stuff. So when I was in bed (because of my hip) and couldn’t walk, I asked for an Ipad for my birthday. (not because I love Apple, but because they have the biggest internal keyboard) and I started to write. The first attempt wasn’t right. The second neither. But the third – the third was brilliant. I had a story. I could write.
    Then shit hit the fan and my depression became worse and worse. I had to stop writing for a few months. When september came around, I finally started writing again and I didn’t stop until the book was finished, a few months later. Then I had to tell my family that I didn’t want to return to university. It was the worst day of my entire life.
    “Just do it” is simple. You just act. I love talking, and whenever I have a problem or dread something or even am excited about something – I get a weird sensation in my stomache until I actually act. I have to talk.
    That’s exactly what I did. I told them that I wanted to be an author. That I had serious plans, that I wasn’t joking that I had dreams. Long burried dreams that had re-emerged when I couldn’t walk.
    I guess, you can imagine the answer?
    It took me months to convince them otherwise, but I managed it. I’m going to study to be a librarian. I’ll finally finish the edits on my book. I won’t become an academic. But I’ll become the self I’m supposed to be. I won’t fulfill their expecations and that hurts. It hurts a lot. But I’m not capable of going the same way that they once did. They accepted that. They are still wary, but as long as I have some sort of degree, they’ll learn to deal with it. They want me to be happy. They are trying. I can’t ask for more.
    Will I be ill again? Possibly. Will the depression return? They will get better, sometimes worse. I’ll deal with them.
    Will I be happy? Yes.
    Was it worth to confront my fears: Absolutely.

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