By Laura Drake
We were talking at crit group the other night. Our “throwdown” blogs have grown into more than we’d planned originally. In case you missed them, they were:
Plot vs. Character –
Linear Writing vs. Non-linear –
Originally, we thought to interject some humor, give some helpful links, and make everyone on either side of the issue feel like they weren’t alone. But we’ve gotten a lot more than that from it. I didn’t expect to, but I stepped out of my own viewpoint to see how the other half lives – and it’s not very often as an adult that you get to do that. It’s been fascinating to hear our reader’s views and we learned from you all.
So we decided to dig deep this time and explore the fear we writers deal with, on the road to publication. There are certainly enough fears to go around, but we thought they fell into two main categories; the fear of not succeeding, and the fear of success.
As usual, I fall on the rat’s tail of the bell curve into the first camp (gee, there seems to be a pattern emerging here, huh?) I can’t understand why you’d embark on a road that you were afraid of getting to the end of. But I’m sure when Fae takes the other side, I’ll understand better.
My fear is that I’ll die before I succeed.
If you follow our blog, you know that I’ve been at this writing gig a long time. Over 13 years. I’m a late-bloomer, and my family is not long lived, so this is not an idle fear. Around 40, I woke up to the reality that I had less time ahead of me than behind. It was time to stop whining and start testing my beliefs about what I could and couldn’t do, to see if they were valid.
The first I belief was, “I can’t ride a motorcycle.” My hubby knows me too well; he bought me a motorcycle. I wasn’t going to let that beautiful thing sit in the garage, taunting me by getting dusty. I was terrified. But I did it anyway, and I learned that you can survive in white-knuckled terror for six months. My theory was that I just had to keep at it and it would get better. And it did.
Well, hell, if I could do that . . .
My desire to write has been at the back of my mind since junior high. It turned out to be much tougher skill to learn than motorcycling. And through all 13 years, I’ve heard a clock, ticking off the seconds, the days, in my brain.
I wrote three novels and sent each of them to 125 agents (yes, I’m the original spammer,) before signing with an agent in July of this year. Yay, success! Well, kind of. I celebrated for a week, until I realized the clock hadn’t stopped. In fact the ticking was getting louder. After all, my goal wasn’t to get an agent; it was to hold a book in my hand with the name on the cover.
So here I sit, terrified that I’ll get hit by a bus before I get an offer. Or worse yet, that I get the opportunity grow old and then die before I have a book published. It sounds stupid to write this but I promised to dig deep, and that’s what keeps me up at night.
Not the bus part – if it’s my time, I’m happy to go. I just want to finish this one thing first!
Okay, I really would like to hear from you – what are you afraid of?
I’ll leave you with some inspiring links, to let you know you’re not alone. And don’t forget to check back on Wednesday, when Fae digs deep into the other side.
Encouraging success story: http://jennybent.blogspot.com/2009/12/meet-mandy-author-and-agent-who-never.html
An injection of humor: http://writersof.thepurplesage.org/writing-encouragement/
Encouraging words from famous authors: http://www.forwritersandreaders.com/write/encourage/
He's going to need it.