Fear – If You Can’t Handle It Then Writing Isn’t the Job for You

Here’s a few things I’ve learned about fear after I sold:

It never goes away – I used to think that once I sold my first book, I’d never feel afraid of sending my writing out again. Wrong. Somehow the thought that the editor loved the last book makes sending in the next book harder. Because what if you’ve somehow stuffed up the next book?  It was diffcult to write – does that mean it’s worse? What if the editor hates the story? What if she hates everything else I send in to her ever???

Sending stuff out to other publishers after you’ve been accepted by one is STILL scary – I’m waiting on a couple of other things and even though I’ve sold a couple of stories, I’m still as anxious and neurotic as I was before I sold those other ones. In fact, in many ways, fear of rejection was easier when I was unpublished because I kind of had nothing to lose. Now, I’ve sold a couple of times which means that theoretically it should be easier to sell again. Right? Right??? And if I don’t sell, does this mean I suck? That the other publishers were wrong to accept me??

People will read my books – some people will love them. Some people will hate them. Some people will be disappointed because the books weren’t as good as they assumed they would be. Some people will be pleasantly surprised because they were better than expected.  Some people will love the first one and yet hate the second. And vice versa. Some people will form opinions about me as a writer and some people will not hesitate to let me know what those opinions are. Which is scary.

Or what if no one reads my books? What if I don’t sell and disappear into oblivion? There are thousands and thousands of writers out there – what makes my book any more special?

Skiing downhill really fast….

This whole year has been like skiing downhill very fast and knowing there’s a turn coming up – you’ll either fly off the edge of the mountain and crash spectacularly with lots of broken bones. Or you’ll do a magnificent parallel turn in a shower of snow. One thing’s for sure though, the turn is coming up and you don’t know how it’s going to go until you get there. And that’s kind of scary.

With all this fear stuff, maybe I’m just neurotic and need to chill. Maybe no one else worries about these kinds of things and I’m being over-dramatic. Whatever the case, just know that if fear is something you don’t want to have to deal with or is something that paralyses you then writing isn’t the job for you. Because it doesn’t go away once you’ve sold. It just changes. The stakes become higher. The further up the mountain you get, the further you have to fall.

After five years of this, I thought I’d become pretty good at handling all the worry and the fear. But nope. I think I’ve just got better at drinking wine. 🙂

Anyone else find the fear difficult to deal with? What do you do in the face of it?