F is for Fear

FI’m constantly amazed when I hear writers whom I consider highly successful express their fears. Fear that they’ll never write another book as great as the one that won an award, or made the NY Times list, or just sold a million/trillion copies. Fear that they’ll be dropped by their publisher. Fear that the critics will hate their newest endeavor, and they’ll only sell five copies. Fear that they won’t make a deadline, or won’t figure out how to pull their newest story together.

In a way it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my fears. Not that I’ve ever made the NY Times list or sold a million/trillion copies of anything I’ve had published. My fears include—but are not limited to—not being able to pull a story idea together, not being able to find a publisher for said book, being panned by critics, not selling enough copies of my book so my publisher will buy my next book, and totally running out of ideas.

I’ve lived with these fears—and many others—for over 35 years. They’re not quite as terrifying as they once were. I have learned I can overcome most adversity, that I’m not alone, and life doesn’t end with a rejection, a publishing line that closes, or a bad review. I have learned the opposite of fear is delight: in finishing a manuscript, in selling a book, in a good review, and in hearing a reader say, “I loved your book.”

So if you have fears, join the crowd, and just keep going. And don’t forget to read some of the other blogs in this challenge A-to-Z Blogging Challenge


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6 Responses to F is for Fear

  1. Diane Burton says:

    Yes, we are not alone with fear. Although I don’t worry about editors & publishers since I self-pub, that moment after I upload my book & hit “publish” always gives me a twinge of fear. Did I do everything right? Will people buy it? Will they like it enough to post a review? A good review?

    Good post, Maris. Enjoy the challenge.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Yes, Diane, those are all the fears I share. In the next three months I’ll have two mysteries released. I’m nervous about the reviews, praying the books have decent sales, and all of my other fears. These are my babies. I want them to be liked. To be loved. Ah, the fears.

  2. ann bennett says:

    No matter what we do, those fears do creep in. I always felt overwhelmed at the start of the school year with being able to teach everything the kids needed. Day by day it happened. However with children, you do get a more immediate sense of how well things are going.

    • Maris Soule says:

      I understand what you’re saying, Ann. I taught for 8 years. You do get that feedback and you can adjust your methods to fit the group. With a story, the closest I’ve come to this is a critique group, but even then I’m not sure if I’m truly getting how they feel about the story or if they’re being polite. Children aren’t polite. If what you’re trying to say isn’t clear, you can read it on their faces or in how they behave.

  3. Lucy Kubash says:

    Having not submitted anything to a publisher in such a long time I fear sticking my toe back into that water. The self-pubbed route is fine, but I’m not sure it’s what I want to do with a completely new ms. So maybe some of the fear stems from making that decision. I guess there is a certain amount of fear involved in writing, period.
    Enjoying your A-Z challenge!

    • Maris Soule says:

      Lucy, do be brave. Your writing is wonderful. Send the story out to at least a few publishers that you feel would give the story good exposure. If they’re too foolish to see it’s value, then you always have the self-publishing option.