Monday, October 12, 2009

Fear in Writers

I am a writer. The process of getting words onto a page, knowing that someday that book will be read and enjoyed, is an exciting prospect. However as you journey through the writing process there is more to it. Finishing a manuscript and polishing it, and polishing it and polishing it, on some days take sheer determination to sit down and go through the process. As the time gets closer to submissions for that manuscript, it can be down right terrifying.

As I prepare my list of submissions for my completed manuscript, 99% of me is ready to jump in and start the process--the waiting process. Yes, it is a waiting game after the submissions are made. However, that 1% says STOP. That 1% is fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure.

While I push on through my journey as a writer, that 1% part of me needs to be shoved aside. I am writer. In being a writer, I know I must set aside my fear and continue the journey.

Part of pushing aside fear is knowing you are not the only writer with these fears. You are not the only writer with frustrations of scenes not working, rejections coming in. The best thing you can do is reach out to other writers who know those same emotions. The support you receive from other writers pushes aside that 1% for me. Gives me the confidence of yes, I am a writer and fear will not stop me.


Kathryn Lang said...

There is a knot that forms in my stomach each time I send out a new manuscript. I wonder "am I really good enough to be doing this?" or "when will they realize they are paying me to do something anyone can do."

I have to push that bit aside (like you said) and focus on the fact that my words are unique, just like I am unique. That makes it easier to send the manuscript but it does not always knead out the knot.

Lisa Olech said...

Writer's are artists, and as artists we put bit of ourselves into our work. It is our voice, our words, our hearts. When we open that door to our creative solitary, we literally stand naked infront of the world, asking to be judged. What's so scary about that?! Eeeeek!

I agree with Ms. Lang. I fear that scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers when someone will point at me and begin screeching in that high-pitched, alien scream.....IMPOSTER!!

But on the flip side, when another artist or another writer looks at my work and says, "Wow, I really like that." It makes all that angst go away.

I am so grateful for the people who are helping me with the endless polishing of my books. I know when "the call" comes, they will cheer almost as loud as I will!

Emma Leigh said...

Thank God for other writers' support, and their criticism that pushes us to improve.

Well said, Lisa.

Denise said...

Even having been published I get that twist in my gut every time I send off a manuscript.
I was scared witless when I submitted my third book to my publisher becaus I was not sure she would like it. Even when she said, "Yes," I asked, "Are you sure?"


We all experience the fear, it's those of us who oush past it and no matter the outcome still continue toward that goal who are the writers. You'll never get there otherwise.

Great post Emma! Truly a subject that we can all relate to.

Linda Warren said...

I'm published and I still have that fear every time I sit down to write. It's a part of the process, and a challenge to overcome the fear and just write.

J.Parris said...

For me fear sometimes is paralyzing instead of an impetus. Becoming a professional musician, I have dealt with many stinging rejections, some incredibly great moments, and learned to turn fear into ambition and drive to become better at my craft.I am in a place where I almost always feel strong. Or at least able to push past any terror.
Now that I am exploring the world of writing I find rejection does not scare me nearly as much. If I could deal with all those rejections before in my teens and early twenties learning music, it's seems less traumatic as a more mature person. However, what does scare me now is losing my love of writing and it being so special to me, not being tainted by the outside world as my music sometimes is. I have so many associations with music, some amazing and some really horrible and with it being "work" now, it has lost some mystique and excitement. I absolutely don't want that to happen with my writing and I think that's where my fear stems from.
What I do hope is the creative process of writing will help to rejuvinate my love of music.

Eva said...

Welcome to the read-a-thon (I hope you're still participating)! Enjoy these first few hours-they'll fly by! I'm sure you'll do great. :D