Today I want to talk about something we all face in the creative process: writerly fears.
And this, my friends, is perfectly normal.
I wrote my first manuscript pretty fearlessly, because I knew nothing about the publishing process or how serious I’d eventually be about pursuing it. I just knew I had an English degree I’d never utilized and an idea in my head, and I was going to use both of those things to create a novel, damn it. And then I was going to cross my fingers and hope for beginners luck a la Stephenie Meyer. *snort*
|OH, THAT IS RICH|
The more I buckled down, the more I learned, and the more I fell in love with writing again, the scarier the process became. Once the goal was real, so was the fear of failure. That’s when the what-ifs settled in like unwanted house guests:
What if I can’t finish this manuscript?
What if I *can* finish it, but it turns out horrible?
What if it doesn’t turn our horrible at all, but I write a god-awful query letter that makes it *sound* horrible?
What if I don’t get any requests from agents?
What if I get requests, but none of them turn into offers?
What if everything I ever write is the same cycle all over again and I never get anywhere, ever?
As it turned out, my second manuscript did land me an agent, but that doesn’t mean my days of worrying are over. Not by a long shot. My fears have evolved, but they’ll never disappear. To this day, I’m still terrified that:
- I won’t or can’t finish the projects I start, due either to time constraints or lack of inspiration. Yes, even after finishing 3-1/2 manuscripts.
- That if I do finish, the end result will be lacking
- That my stories will be different names and faces and settings, but interchangeable dialogue, emotions, and reactions.This is a big one for me. It’s kind of terrifying to figure out how to write not just a different story, but a different book. Nonetheless, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
Last but not least, I will cop to the fear that I believe all aspiring authors share: What if, after all my hard work, I never wind up getting published?Of course, if and when a book deal does come about, it will bring with it a fresh wave of concerns. What if my book tanks? What if I never write anything publication-worthy again? Krista van Dolzer did a great post about that here.
In short, there will always be something – but eventually you have to do this to your fears...