Facing Down Writing Fears

A little comic relief goes a long way
when dealing with fear.
This has been a really timely topic for me this week. A few days ago, my novel went up on NetGalley, which plays right into one of my greatest fears as a writer: that people will read the book, and not like it. I'm especially afraid of the scathing review.  Because... really? I don't want to make anyone scathe. That is the opposite of what I want.

The thing is, I know some people won't like it. January 3, 2012, it'll be widely available. Many more readers will have access to it. A share of those readers won't like it. We humans are utterly unique, and if you can find one thing we all agree on, one book out there that's garnered unanimous acceptance, let me know.

Rationally, I understand this, but that's the thing about fear. It's rooted in the part of our mind that is much stronger than our intellect. Fear is an utterly primitive and powerful thing.

But we're not powerless. We do have tools to fight fear. Here are my tools:

Talk - With my husband. My writing friends and my normal friends (sorry, writing friends, but you know what I mean.) I'll talk with the dog and my acupuncturist and my parents. I try not to bog any one person down (sorry, babe.) And I'll say right now to any of you who are reading: thank you. I know it's not easy to hear someone's worries, especially when we know they will happen (see above), and that the only real solution is to let them happen.

Read -  Have you seen the brilliant posts by Kristen Simmons and Saundra Mitchell?
Both of those posts could have been pulled right from my thoughts.

Write - Simple, right? I had a goal to get published, and I've met that goal (which still amazes me.) But writing is so much more than a goal for me. It's a practice. It's something I love, and will continue to do no matter where the publishing path takes me. When I reconnect with that, then I'm good.

Escape - For me, this can mean time with my family or friends, a good book, a good movie. Another successful is just to get out of my routine. Right now, I'm in a hotel room in Houston for a writing conference, and even though the focus is writing, my mind was far from my writing fears (until I had to write this post. thanks a lot, Muses.)

Anti-Pity Party - I've talked about this before. It's a little shameless, but it works. I keep a file with positive feedback I've received. The really good stuff my editor has shared with me, or my agent, or my friends, or the new follower on twitter. It works. Ultimately, it's an exercise that proves something I believe: that the good is more important than the bad.

Time - As I said above, I know this is the only real solution to my fear. Time, and experience, will be what teaches me that it's all right to get some unfavorable reviews. I'll survive it. What matters are the good reviews. What matters are the people who are alongside me in this journey. What matters is the writing.


I SO can relate to you with this (my debut also releases on Jan. 3). When my publisher told me review copies were being sent out I had that moment--oh crap, people are going to read my book!

Love you idea of keeping your positive feedback for a rainy day. :) Good luck!


You might like these two quotes:

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
Mark Twain

Fear has its use but cowardice has none.
Mohandas Gandhi

Good post!

I like your reference to fear being primal. Which it is. It's got a use, like shaking us up when danger is near. Making us choose fight or flight to handle situations. But fear can be anti-productive. It can hold people back. But I'm glad you have avenues for dealing with it. And I'm sure you'll get great stuff back in the way of reviews.

Keeping a "positive comments" file is a BRILLIANT idea!!! I will definitely be absconding with that one. Now if I can just remember to look at it...

In agreement with PB about the positive comments file, and pretty much everything else you said. Talking helps me, too. It's amazing the nice things I can get people to say about me with just the words, "I need a self-esteem booster." My critique group is especially wonderful about this.

We Muses have the best blog followers. Thanks so much for your comments. You guys are pretty great. And Roni, we share book birthdays! How cool!

Post a Comment

Grid_spot theme adapted by Lia Keyes. Powered by Blogger.


discover what the Muses get up to when they're not Musing

an ever-growing resource for writers

Popular Musings

Your Responses

Fellow Musers