Afraid To Take the Plunge

28 Mar


One of my favorite places when I was growing up was Surprise Lake.  It was located about ten miles from our home, and maybe three or four times each summer our family would drive to the lake, bring along a picnic lunch, and make a day of swimming and lazing in the sun.

From the beach there was a horseshoe-shaped dock, and maybe thirty feet from the dock there was a very large wooden float. Rising above that float was a wooden tower, and on that tower were three diving boards, one at ten feet in height, one at twenty-five feet, and one at fifty.

I was ten-years old when I first jumped off the ten-footer.  I was twelve-years old when I stepped off the twenty-five footer, but that fifty-foot board scared the hell out of me. When I was fifteen I climbed up to the top diving board.  My knees literally shook when I walked out on that diving board and looked down at the water.  I couldn’t do it.  Fear had paralyzed me. Eventually I sheepishly walked back to the ladder, climbed down, and joined my parents on the beach.

It’s too high, Dad,” I said as I sat down next to him.

“It’s pretty damned high, that’s for sure,” he said.  “There’s no shame in not jumping, son.  No shame at all.  But the thing is, that fear you were feeling, that doesn’t go away unless you face it.  There’s no way to talk yourself out of fear.  It’s not something you sit down and have a rational discussion with.  Something I learned about fear, over the years, is it will stay with you forever unless you laugh in its face and kick it in the balls. Plain and simple, Bill.”

The next summer I took the plunge from that fifty-footer.  I spent an entire year worrying about that jump and talking myself into taking it.


“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” Eleanor Roosevelt

I can’t even begin to count the number of people I’ve known over the course of my lifetime who were afraid to try something new.  I saw it as a teacher and I see it today as a writer, and usually the fear is of failure.  What if I fail? What will people think of me? What will I think of myself?  What will happen if I take the risk and fall flat on my face?

I know this to be true, and I’m going to toss it out for you to consider: I’m sixty-eight years old, and my time on this planet is dwindling down.  I don’t have time for fear, and I don’t have time to waste being paralyzed by fear.  The worst that can happen, by trying, is nowhere near the worst that can happen by not trying.

Thus speaketh the old man!


Meet my new friend Dale…here is her website/blog, A Dalectable Life….I like her style and her outlook on life, and I’m pretty sure you will too.


Another friend of mine, Sydney Spence, just recently published a coloring book for young kids…

Hippo Henry and Friends….you can find it on Amazon by following this link.  It’s for a good cause, proceeds going to her local school, and community programs for kids, for much-needed supplies.  Sydney also has a website where all of her other books are listed and you can find that here.


Most of you who follow this are writers, so let me ask this of you: what are you afraid of doing? What is fear holding you back from?

Kick fear in the balls!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

29 Responses to “Afraid To Take the Plunge”

  1. Janine Huldie March 28, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    Couldn’t agree more about fear and not trying. I constantly tell my kids to try new things and not be afraid. So, as a parent, I wholeheartedly agree, as well as as a writer, too. Thanks Bill and Happy Tuesday 🙂

    • Billybuc March 28, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

      Thanks Janine! One of the best things we can teach our kids is to try without fear of consequences. Well done my friend, and Happy Rainy Tuesday to you!

  2. froggy213 March 28, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    I am scared to write this comment. What will Bill think? Will I make a grammar or punctuation mistake? Oh well, I’ll just kick it in the balls and write it anyway…No Bill, not you; I won’t kick you there. Lol.

    Thanks for sharing this. We just can’t have time for fear.

    • Billybuc March 28, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

      I love that last comment, Greg…no time for fear, my friend. Thank you!

  3. ericdierker March 28, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

    “Fear is only God showing me the direction I must take”
    Have a great one.

    • Billybuc March 28, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

      I will indeed, Eric, and you do that same. Thanks, buddy!

  4. marlenebertrand March 28, 2017 at 4:56 pm #

    Yesterday, I asked myself the same questions. My husband said the first thing he noticed about me was that I had no fear. I would decide to do something and then jump in with both feet. Little did he know, I was always afraid, but my military father told me pretty much what your father told you and that has normally brought me through life. Now that I am in my 60’s I seem to have slowed down. I don’t tackle things to the level I had in the past. Reading your message today makes me realize how much I need to get back up and into the game. I’ve worked so hard to be successful. My fear is that no matter how hard I work, I won’t make it to my dream level of success.

    • Billybuc March 28, 2017 at 7:53 pm #

      Marlene, I love your last statement….fear that I won’t make it to my dream level of success….perfectly describes what I go through daily.

      No wonder I like you so much. LOL

  5. Mike March 28, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

    They would not have ever got me to jump from a 50 ft diving board. There must be a fine line between fear and good sense.

    The advice is sound.

    • Billybuc March 28, 2017 at 7:52 pm #

      Mike, still to this day, I question my sanity for that jump. LOL

  6. 1authorcygnetbrown March 28, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

    Hi Bill, I told you that I would read your blog right away. I would have to say that I am not afraid to write at all. I can get a book written and published, no problem. The problem comes when its time to market my baby. My fear isn’t so much failure as it is rejection. (which incidentally is probably one of the big reasons I self-publish.) I do know, however, that without marketing, I might as well be writing the book with my finger in the air.

    • Billybuc March 28, 2017 at 9:15 pm #

      Donna, if it’s any help, you speak for most indie writers. I think this is the number one drawback for most writers, the fear of rejection and the repulsion to marketing.

      • 1authorcygnetbrown March 29, 2017 at 12:27 am #

        No doubt! Sometimes, if you want something bad enough, though, you just have to do it afraid!

  7. Sageleaf March 29, 2017 at 2:42 am #

    I love, love, love your words. And a gentle reminder to DO IT NOW. You know what? I’m gonna do it. I have a fiction book slated for May that I’m gonna write, and edit like crazy in June. I’m gonna publish that darn thing. I always think they’re “not good enough” but that’s fear, right? Yeah…part of what I’m tackling with my project. And you’re right – I’ve often thought that I’m never going to get over it until…I get that first bad review. I’ve had scathing comments before, but a bad review on a book seems so much worse to me. This is what’s holding me back: the fear of backlash. I’m on track to confront it. And confront it, I will. Thank you for the gentle (and wise) reminder. 🙂

    • Billybuc March 29, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

      And Lil Sis I love, love, love that you are going back to that book…publish that darn thing!!!! LOL You are a hoot, Sis…thanks for being here and for sharing. Hugs from Olympia!

  8. Sarah Potter Writes March 29, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    I’m so glad that you and Dale have found each other, as she is another one of my special blogging friends. She has been exceptionally brave, following the tragedy of losing her wonderful husband at far too young an age. Her positive outlook on life is an inspiration. And she’s always up for a challenge, as I know when I first challenged her to pen a 100-word story for Friday Fictioneers (I seem to remember that she said she couldn’t write). Since then, she has hardly missed a week, and her writing gets better and better.

    My biggest challenge involved overcoming the performance nerves that had dogged me since childhood, plus overcoming my ability to memorise anything. In fact, I often got detentions for the latter, when I failed to memorise a poem for homework. Anyway … the BIG CHALLENGE: This involved learning 17 difficult songs from scratch (some in English and some in Italian) and then singing them from memory in front of an audience. Well, I did it, without messing up, just as you did your mega-dive. But I think you were braver, as your challenge could have killed you. The only sort of death I would have suffered if things had gone wrong, was dying of embarrassment!

    My fear now, is dying without fulfilling my dream, which is to find a publisher willing to take a punt on my work. Yes, I’m proud of having indie published two books, but I’m not proud of my marketing results. I need someone behind me who believes in me, shares in the marketing, and guides me as to what works and doesn’t work. I haven’t enough of a lifetime left for all this trial and error learning, nor the money to pump into a huge marketing campaign. And I want to have time to write…

    • Billybuc March 29, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

      We are similar in our dreams, Sarah. I will not be satisfied until I have found a publisher, someone behind the scenes pushing me, and my work, towards a larger stage. Whether that is realistic is beside the point. It is what I want, and I won’t truly know satisfaction until it happens.

      That was a long-winded way of saying thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I understand completely.

      • Sarah Potter Writes March 30, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

        I’m glad we share the same dreams, Bill. It is good not to feel alone. I’ve noticed that some self-published authors get quite militant about their indie club and rather anti traditional publishers. I think that’s sad. There are many hybrid authors out there who are perfectly successful, with a foot in both camps.

      • Billybuc March 30, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

        Totally agree, Sarah! I’m much too busy just trying to make my own mark to worry about militancy, or casting judgement on other writers for the path they take.

  9. phoenix2327 March 30, 2017 at 9:30 am #

    Bill, your Dad is amazing. If my parents had been that way, who knows what I could have achieved by now. Having said that, would I be the person I am now? Would I be living in this beautiful country with my lovely family? Would I have gotten to know you? Screw it. Everything turned out fine.

    You talk of fear of failure and, God, do I get that. But what about fear of success? You can learn from failure, improve and come back swinging. But what can you learn from success? That whatever did you to achieve it can be repeated for a similar result? Possibly, but that can lead to complacency. You stop trying to improve. There’s no point in continuing to chase the bus if you’ve already caught it.

    Or you worry the success was a one-off. What if that was the best I could do and there’s nothing left to give? Everyone will know I’m a fraud. How do you kick that fear in the balls?

    Anyway, you have a good day.

    • Billybuc March 30, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

      Great questions, Zulma…not sure if I’ll ever face that particular fear. LOL And I’m glad it all worked out exactly how it did with you, my friend. I was watching a documentary on Gerry Rafferty…”Baker Street” fame….he had that one huge hit and then forever chased that kind of notoriety the rest of his life….I can see that would be very difficult. Again, I haven’t had to worry about that. 🙂

      Happy Thursday my friend!

  10. Christy B April 1, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

    Your dad had good advice for you, Bill, and it sounds like you took it as the next summer you DID take to the 50-foot board and jump. I’m thinking we “jump” every time we release a new work of writing 😉

    • Billybuc April 1, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

      I’m thinking you are correct, Christy! 🙂 Thanks my friend and hugs from rainy Olympia.

  11. Dee April 3, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

    Good talk on facing fear. I need to hear that pep talk once in awhile. Thank you.

    • Billybuc April 3, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

      I think we all do, Dee! Thank you my friend.

  12. Karen Szklany Gault April 5, 2017 at 4:14 am #

    Great post on facing fears. Thank you for your insights. Shared the Eleanor Roosevelt quote with my daughter. ~:0)

    • Billybuc April 5, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

      Well thank you very much, Karen, and have a tremendous Wednesday.

  13. Shauna L Bowling May 4, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

    Bill, I love your story. I don’t know if I’d ever gotten the courage to climb that 50′ ladder, let alone jump off once I got to the top!

    As you well know, in 2012 I quit my job and started my own freelance business. You also know I struggled for three years until I finally realized I need a constant, reliable income and went back into the workforce. However, I made the leap. I didn’t want to spend my final years on earth wondering “what if?” and “why didn’t I?”. You never know until you try. At least I won’t have any regrets.

    • Billybuc May 4, 2017 at 4:34 pm #

      All true, Sha, and I’m proud of you for taking that leap. Truth be told, now, there is no way I jump off that tower…in fact, they closed it down years ago because of the danger…ahh, to be young again! 🙂 Thanks my friend.

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