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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself by Nancy Gideon

What keeps a writer from taking that next step in their career?  Fear.  Whether you’re a newbie with that first work-in-progress or a bestseller looking for that next big hit, these six things can blow up into monstrous roadblocks at any point in your creative journey. 

Fear of Commitment

There’s safety in the process of writing for yourself.  No pressure to produce or perform, just the pleasure of puttering with words and calling yourself a writer.  Constantly researching, always rewriting, switching from one Oh Shiny! project to the next.  But never finishing, never submitting.  Sometimes, that’s enough, and that’s okay. Writing is a wonderful, cathartic pastime.  But an author has to be willing to make the jump to Not as a Hobby status in the eyes of the IRS.  Make a commitment to a critique partner, to a contest, to yourself.  Go for PRO status. And get it out there.  Welcome to being an author!

Fear of Not Being Ready

It’s that constant nagging insecurity that keeps you circling instead of moving forward.  Just another quick read through.  Maybe it should be a comedy instead of a mystery.  Maybe it should be in first person. First person is real popular now.  I should take a class on the Hero’s Journey and wait until I have 3,000 friends on Facebook. Maybe I should throw in a Highlander or a vampire.  There comes a point when you’re not making it better, you’re just making it different. It’s time to let go and trust yourself.  Put the vampire Highlander in your next book.

Fear of Competition

It’s a dog eat dog world. You tell yourself you’ll never be a Nora or Tami or Agatha or Dean. No, you won’t be. You’re not in competition with them.  You  are your only competition.  There’s always room for another good book – especially in this new e-volution. You’re not fighting with other writers to take their spot. You’re making a spot for yourself by writing the best book you can . . . and getting it out there. Stop looking around and look toward your own future.

Fear of Exposure

Yes, someone out there is not going to like what you write.  I guarantee it.  They will write a bad review. Someone is going to be offended that you have sex in your book.  Someone is going to look down their nose because you published a romance or self-published or used a semi-colon. It’s not personal.  You are NOT your product.  We fear ridicule.  We avoid criticism. It’s in our nature.  And when you publish, you have your baby out in front of the world and some will say it’s ugly.  You can’t do anything about that, but you can choose not to be intimidated.  You can write under a pseudonym.  You don’t have to read reviews. Remind yourself it’s just one person’s opinion and they’re entitled to it. Just don’t hide your light under a basket. Be proud of that accomplishment the majority of our society wishes they could claim. You’re an author.

Fear of Failure

Not everyone makes The Times list.  Not everyone wins a contest. Not everyone gets a 5 Star or even a 4 Star review. Not everyone sells that first, second, third or thirtieth book. Does not making that list, that number, that sale make you less of a person, less of a critique partner, less of a writer? No. Look at those other would be failures out there.  Tom Clancy.  Thomas Edison. J.K. Rowling. Failure is when you give up on the chance of success. That’s when the door closes on your dream. Don’t forget to rejoice in the goals you have reached.

Fear of Success

On the flipside, sometimes the thing you fear most is attaining what you’ve worked for.  That Second Book syndrome.  I’ve sold.  I’m an author.  I’m at the top.  Now what?  How can I match or perpetuate that success?  Am I prepared for the pressure, the deadlines, the interviews, the loss of personal time and space, the tours and obligations? There’s comfort in anonymity, but when you’re in the spotlight, there’s no place to hide.  Think about how you’d handle that success you dream of.  Be prepared for the call up from the minors to play in the Show so you can enjoy it if it happens. When it happens.
It all comes down to taking a determined step of faith a la Indiana Jones, trusting that the path will be there to support you.  Faith in yourself, in your talent, and in your dreams even when you have no control over the outcome. No risk, no reward. Don’t look down.  Don’t look to others. Rather look ahead, or better yet, upward.  And reach.
Nancy Gideon is the award winning author of over 54 romances ranging from historical, regency and series contemporary suspense to paranormal, with a couple of horror screenplays tossed into the mix.  She works full time as a legal assistant, and when not at the keyboard, feeds a Netflix addiction along with all things fur, fin and fowl. Her latest release, PRINCE OF SHADOWS, book 8 in her dark paranormal “By Moonight” series for Pocket Books, is now available as an e-exclusive.Visit Nancy at http://nancygideon.com or http://nancygideon.blogspot.com.
Pocket Star / 5-27-13
Held hostage until she chooses a mate, Kendra Terriot must play a careful courtship game when choosing from among the dangerous Shifter heirs. As a prince in the House of Terriot, Cale knows with Kendra at his side he can be the leader his clan needs, but first he must learn to become the kind of man she desires. In a treacherous race for the crown, where weakness means death, to prove he’s not the beast his gentle beauty fears, the only way to win her trust could mean surrendering his throne. But the only way to win her heart could mean letting her go.



Rachel Moore said...

I like your blog Nancy. It's right on target. As you stated, "It’s that constant nagging insecurity that keeps you circling instead of moving forward."

As a first time writer trying to get my first book published, I have all kinds of fears and insecurities.


Nancy Gideon said...

Don't we all, Rachel! Recognizing them is sometimes all it takes to get over them . . . sometimes.

Loralee said...

You know me so well, Nancy. I need to keep a copy of this blog by my desk and read it every morning before I begin to write. Thank you, my friend.

Diane Burton said...

Wow. What a great post. Every writer should read this--maybe imprint it on the brain. It's a scary thing putting yourself out there--putting your baby out to be judged. Well done, Nancy.

Patricia Kiyono said...

I went through every one of those fears. Maybe if I'd had this article, my first book would have taken only four years instead of seven! And yes, I stil face some of them. Thanks so much for the kick in the pants!

Melissa Keir said...

Wonderful post Nancy! I need to hear this each day. You really hit it on the head for writers. We can't let fear keep us from our dreams.


Kristen said...

That was so inspiring, I now have goosebumps! Printing this now to re-read the future. As in, later today when I start writing again...

Nancy Gideon said...

Thanks all! If I've given you a push, then my job is done!

Maggie said...

Love this post! I'm speaking on this very topic at GRW in August and couldn't agree with you more!