Tuesday, September 26, 2006

So What Are You Afraid Of?

I have a secret. One I believe is shared with millions of writers, both published and unpublished. I'm afraid to write. Yes, you heard me. I'm afraid to put words down on a page. Writing consumes my thinking, but fear of writing often consumes it more.

Not ready to admit you're afraid? Don't be embarrassed, neither was I, until I read an excellent blog last week written by the wonderfully talented romantic suspense author, Allison Brennan. The things she talked about resonated with me and I could no longer deny that my biggest problem in my writing was the actual fear of it.

What am I afraid of? Oh my gosh, everything.

What if my writing is absolutely awful? What if I think it's wonderful but others think it stinks? What happens when I send my work out and rejections start piling up? How can I go on when I can't seem to find that one editor that loves my voice and 'gets' me? Should I just give up?

Then, what if the seemingly impossible happens, and I sell? How do I stand up to the reviews? It's hard enough to withstand well meaning comments of contests judges, critique partners and the few family members I allow to read my work. But this is bigger, much bigger. My work is finally out in the cold, cruel world and that world could care less about how hard I've worked and what I nice person I am. Yikes, I get shivers just thinking about it.

And, what if I sell and I'm a one book wonder? What if I can't sell my second book or third one, or fourth? Should I just give up and say, well, at least I got published?

I'm sure there are fears I've not even realized I have or others that will appear with time. But what are my choices? Do I just give up, because I'm too afraid to try? Do I let fear control my destiny? Can I live with myself, if I do?

My answer is a resounding NO! I have to write -- as Allison put it -- "write through the fear." I have stories inside me to tell, I have to write them down and I have to share them. I can't let my fears control my need to create. No, the fear won't go away, but hopefully my need to write will overpower any fears that attack me.

So what about you? Are you afraid to write? What's your biggest fear and how do you write past it?


Deborah Matthews said...

Since it's been a couple of years, I'm afraid I'll never sell again. I haven't yet found a way past it.

Angel said...

I'd say about everything you've listed is a fear I have. :) But more than anything I fear I'll never be good enough to sell.

How do I get past it? Sometimes I don't. Sometimes it can paralyze my writing and I have a really difficult time getting anything on the page.

But most of the time I just write through it. Because I can always make what is on the page better, once I have it written. Doesn't mean I will sell--I can't control that. But at least I can keep working at it.

Great post, Christy! I appreciate not knowing I'm alone.


jennifer echols said...

Allison is wonderful and I do whatever she says. She was just getting kicked off the PRO loop right when I got on, and she offered great advice.