Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Don't Be Afraid

As I’ve mentioned in the past few entries, the writing world can be a scary place. Now, writing about the dragons, villains, and various monsters was its own adventure, but you somehow made it through. Yet exploring a world you’ve never tread before is always frightening. And sadly, my friends, the writing world is filled with terror.

It doesn’t matter if you’re editing, submitting, or publishing. You will always face fear.

What if this scene I’m taking out is the one that’s supposed to stay in? Will I ever write something this brilliant again? Gah! Do I add the super-cool plot twist here? Will I lose this joke forever? What do I do?

What if this publisher is the one and they decide I’m an idiot? What if I needed to go through 16 edits instead of the 14 I’ve already done? What if there’s a typo? What if I didn’t send enough postage? What if I put the information one publisher requested into the wrong envelope? I’ll look like an idiot to TWO people!

What if people don’t buy my book? What if they hate it? What if it goes down as the next Twilight or the worst book to ever be published? Why did I self-publish? The third page has a typo! I knew I should have done my 15th editing sweep. What if this book cover doesn’t work? What if my book is awful?

For every mountaintop you reach, there will be another climb in the distance. You will doubt yourself, your ability, your sanity, and the judgment of others many, many times. Back in November, we kicked Doubt out the door. Now he’s shown up again with a suitcase and brought along his cousin, Fear.

Doubt and Fear will always exist in the world. A bit of doubt is healthy in judging your work, I think. You are not brilliant all the time, unfortunately, and it’s Doubt’s job to remind us of that. But that’s his only job. He seems to think messing with your mind is fun. And when Doubt is welcome, Fear will follow.

I’m not going to wax super-spiritual on you, because not everyone who reads my blog believes the way I do. But I will tell you that Fear will only stay where it is invited. Fear will come, but you don’t have to let it stay.

Take it from one who’s been climbing the same hill for the past decade – Fear will never help you.
Today, I’m handing you the only tool you’ll need when scaling the mountains in the writing world. It is a life line when the winds blow, when Fear distracts you, or when Doubt knocks you off course.

Hope is stronger than Fear. Hope will always keep you anchored. And Hope will keep you around to climb another day.


  1. Thank you for a beautiful post. I needed this today!

  2. Hi JR, this is Dwight Okita from ABNA. I was just gonna send a quick private note re: typos. Yeah, typos are not good. But I will say that my first entry had several typos in 2008 and I made it to the top 3. I wanted to say this privately because when I mentioned it on the boards once, someone said I was encouraging shoddy editing! lol.

    1. That makes me feel SO much better! Thank you!