Halloween Is All About Fear. Turns Out, so Is Publishing

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From Writer Unboxed:

Who among us is without fear? Dumb question, really. I’d argue that fear is one of the single most formative emotions in our lives from infancy to death. It’s what paralyzes us or stunts our growth…or it’s what motivates us. We use it to shape our characters and to make their lives hell as they seek their greater truths and higher selves. But it’s also the emotion that infuses our daily lives as writers. This season in which we celebrate fear, I talked with some authors to find out what it is that frightens them as writers and what they do to silence the negative voices. This is what they had to say:

“I’m afraid that my readers will see right through me and figure out the plot by the third page. But then I remind myself that has never happened, and often some of the things I think are obvious come as a total surprise to the reader. It’s a reminder to me to trust my intuition.”-Crystal King, author of Feast of Sorrow and The Chef’s Secret

“My biggest publishing fear is never getting published again! As difficult as it is to get published in the first place – and it IS difficult – I often feel like the actual hardest thing is CONTINUING to publish once you’ve done it once, or even a few times. So many of the factors that go into a publisher’s decision to buy my book (or any book) are completely out of my control: market trends, how well my previous books have sold, what else that publisher has acquired recently, etc. Every time I publish a book I worry that it could be my last, which would be devastating since I love making books and bringing them to readers. But I try to combat this by meditating on what I really love about the writing itself. Publication may be out of my control, but the words themselves aren’t, so I try to focus on that as much as possible. If I can take joy and satisfaction in the work itself, in the stories I’m telling, the rest fades to the background. It is easier said than done, but I try my best!”- Alyssa Palombo, author of Heavy Metal Symphony and The Borgia Confessions

. . . .

What if what I’m writing isn’t what I’m meant to write? Not in some way related to fate or destiny, but what if, by focusing so narrowly on the projects I’ve decided to see to the end, sometimes doggedly so, what if I’m missing the opportunity to write the thing that would truly shine? What if I’m just not seeing the right thing? I read someone’s blog post about this a while ago, and it has sort of haunted me since then. “-Anjali Mitter, author of Faint Promise of Rain

“I fear letting go of a book, which makes it so hard to finish anything. What if the book isn’t as good as it could be? What if I’ve missed something more I could do—which would leave me open to criticism?”-Kris Waldherr, author of The Lost History of Dreams and Unnatural Creatures

Link to the rest at Writer Unboxed

4 thoughts on “Halloween Is All About Fear. Turns Out, so Is Publishing”

  1. This always seems to boil down to the same things:

    1) What if what I create isn’t perfect? [And what is?]

    2) What if strangers don’t like it/approve? [Why care about that? Who made strangers your boss?]

    3) What if I put my efforts into the hands of strangers (Publishers) to fulfill, out of my own control? [Control more of the process yourself, now that it’s possible to do so…]

    Yes, this is about fear, but it’s more about timidity and unrealistic expectations as self-induced hobbles. Sure, we all have to get past that, but there’s no point wringing one’s hands and stopping. Gumption is what’s needed… gumption, I say! Hard to live as a grownup without gumption.

  2. I talked to Jack, the plumber. He fears his copper sweats will look sloppy to anyone looking behind the drywall. And what if he cuts a pipe too short? Will the customer notice the drip? And what if he takes a job, and then finds he could have taken a different one and made more money? He also has taken to wearing Dr Dentons to avoid the embarrassment of the feared plumbers crack.

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