Fear

I have a lot of fears. Mostly I try to not let them affect me or, worse, break me, but I don’t always win. Sometimes I admit defeat for a day or two and then have enough strength to regroup and kick Fear’s ass again.

Currently I’m in a constant battle with the Big Cheese of fears: the Fear of Failure. Skirmishes happen almost on a daily basis and sometimes I imagine that our battlefield is littered with little pieces and shreds of us. Unfortunately, at the moment, those pieces mostly belong (or belonged) to me. It’s the main reason that I’m still not finished editing the first half of my book: I am afraid that the more I read the more I will come to realize that this has been, and always was, an absolute waste of time because I suck at it.

While sitting here trying to think of clever ways to procrastinate distract myself, I read through a post on Magical Words that I had missed dealing with the question of when you should throw in the towel. David B Coe writes a post that I find both very uplifting and very disheartening at the same time. The point is, he says, that while the publishing industry is hard and you WILL have to face pain and disappointment (probably more often than facing triumph), as long as you feel that pain you should keep trucking. The pain means that you still have passion for the subject of writing. It’s when you grow ambivalent that you should consider giving up and trying something that isn’t writing.

This makes absolute sense to me, and it’s comforting in a sense to know that other writers – successful and professional ones at that – still feel that way when a project gets rejected. However, it frightens me as well. Am I equipped to enter into this business? Does pure passion and desire to be an author cut it? Because, to be honest, I can’t say for sure whether I would be able to endure 25 rejections for every one acceptance. Does that mean I have to give up on the dream? Does that mean I have to give Fear an ultimate victory here?

I wish I could answer those questions. Maybe one of you will be able to. If so, please do tell me! In the meantime I suppose I should get back to work.

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4 thoughts on “Fear

  1. I believe I have an answer for you. It’s all in perception.

    In my opinion, each completed novel is a success. It means you’ve had the courage to pursue your dream. Never give up on your dreams, your passion. It’s a good part of what keeps us going, and a good deal of who we are.

    As Thomas Edison said in not so many words, (I’m not quoting it because I don’t remember it verbatim) I did not fail. I simply discovered 2000 ways of how to not make a light bulb and 1 correct way of doing it. That being said, there are no failures in life, if that is how you choose to perceive them.

    Remember, each finished story is a success, having it published is merely an end to a means. I know being published is your ultimate goal, but baby steps. And never forget that you have a whole group of people standing behind you cheering you on. We will love you and support you through the good days and the bad!

  2. Though I hate the phrase, “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself,” I’ve known instances where it’s rung true. However, since I felt a lot of physical pain growing up, I know that that is not always the case.

  3. Kim says:

    When what you give is the best you can do, there should be nothing else to give. If others don’t accept it, it’s either because your best wasn’t good enough, or because there’s something else going on. It usually is simply a combination of factors and to pin point it all down to yourself being a failure is too self absorbed. Because you simply don’t know the reasons, so why bother guestimating and fretting over the unknown?

    If it’s pure passion you shouldn’t care about rejection. The great masters didn’t either. They just did what they did best.

    Nobody ever said life was going to be easy and truth be told; becoming a published writer most probably is more difficult than finding a 9to5 job at an office. You made a conscious choice and with that you’ve set yourself up for failure. So face it and deal with it.

    Learn to let go. Learn to let others be and learn to not care so much about what others think. Once you stop focusing on The Others, you might find it’s easier to deal with yourself too. You don’t need -their- acceptance of you, you need your own acceptance of -them- and with that I think you’ll find you’re beginning to accept yourself.

    Their acceptance and recognition isn’t going to fix your fears. You’ll feel good and accomplished for a while but soon after you’ll fall in the same pit again because you’re going to need your fix again. And you’ll never find any sort of inner peace if you don’t fix the core of it.

    It’s a long road and there are a -lot- of people who can’t do this, but you can begin to try and each day tried is a step closer to perfection.

    Maybe you should go see about following some workshops in spiritual relief. Yoga, meditation, dervish spinning, tea rituals, all that sort of new age stuff is all working. And those things aren’t easy but practice makes perfect. Doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s -not- writing and it helps -you- instead of your skill. Expand your views beyond what’s inside your mind. The more you see of what’s out there, the less you need to focus on what’s in there.

    “A year from now you’ll wish you had started today”

  4. Kim says:

    And don’t expect quick fixes. You’ve been broken going down a broken path for a very long time. You can’t expect to be fixed instantly. So start something to heal yourself and do not give up. No matter how hard it is, find ways to motivate yourself and stay motivated. And pull through.

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