Thanks to Yoda I have my marching orders. Do, or do not. There is no try.
This week in the #MFRWAuthor Blog Challenge, we’ve been prompted to write about our biggest fears. I could certainly go on and on about the usual ones many of us share–heights (Yes, I was a skydiver. I’m kookey that way.), spiders, elevators don’t thrill me. You get the point. But, if I’m being honest, there is one fear that rules them all.
Queue Pyscho music.
Failure can sink its icy claws into every facet of my life. Small things, like not wanting to speak up in a meeting. I mean…what if I say something stupid? To not wanting to try out for sports? Don’t pass that ball to me, what if I drop it? All the way to the biggest things. What if I suck at being a mom and mess up my kids?
You can be damn sure a fear of failure permeates every corner of my author life. Every day, I have to consider and either address or discard a litany of questions and commentary I mentally aim at myself, most of which are driven by this fear.
- Does this idea suck?
- I can’t live up to this idea. How am I going to do this?
- Does my writing suck?
- What did I forget or mess up?
- So-and-so does it so much better. How does she do that? How do I do that?
- Oh my God. I just went to a workshop and I’ve been doing this all wrong. How do I do this right?
- When will they figure out that I’m a total hack?
- Will my editor like it? Or will she start regretting signing me to a contract?
- Shouldn’t somebody better at marketing figure out this blurb? No one is going to want to read this book?
- Will the reviews be positive?
- How much should I spend on ads?
- Should I try a Facebook party? No one every shows up any more. Not for me at least.
- Am I doing enough to connect with my readers?
- Most promotions don’t work anyway. Why am I bothering? It’s costing more than it makes me in sales?
- No one is preordering anything. Why not?
- How the hell do I get any visibility without paying a freaking mint (that I don’t have) for it?
- A great start, but how am I going to keep the momentum?
- Why aren’t more people reading the next books if they liked the first one so much?
- How many Kindles is this thing sitting on unread?
- They liked it? Holy crap. How did I fool them?
- This person hated it. Okay, try not to cry. Can’t please everyone. Take any constructive feedback as given and try to incorporate into the next book.
- If they loved the first book, they’re going to hate the second one. It’ll never live up to expectations.
- My publisher is never going to sign another contract with me.
- This WIP sucks. How did I ever write a book that anyone likes?
And on, and on, and on it goes. Ad nauseum. Ad infinitum.
The problem with fear of failure is it can turn paralyzing. I’ve known so many authors who’ve written book after book never to publish or even query because of this fear. I’ve seen writers who love what they do, are publishes, are great writers and quit because of this fear.
How do I deal with this fear?
I’m stubborn. Damned if fear of failure–and even actual failure–is going to keep me from doing what I love.
I keep writing and I do my best on each and every WIP on my computer. Everything else will fall as it may. Yes, I have tons of decisions to make every day that have some effect on my success–writing choices, publisher and editor choices, publishing choices, editing choices, marketing choices.
Being an author isn’t just about the writing. It’s a business. But this business goes no where without my writing the books. So, in the end, I’ll do what I can on everything else, but the writing is what gets my full focus. I attend workshops to get better. I try different techniques and have a goal to improve with every book. To give my readers MY very best.
The rest is up to luck, the readers, and God. And I’m fine with putting it in his hands.
My ever-supportive, wonderful husband, however, would probably not mind seeing a small profit at some point. Given that the odds of becoming a consistently successful (and I’m talking regular success, not astronomical) author are about the same as becoming a famous actor, I guess I’ll just add that to my list of fears and keep running Authors On A Dime to bring in the side money.
To all the other authors who struggle with this too (and I know there are a lot of you out there)…
Know you aren’t alone.
Keep writing, because you are awesome.
And have faith in the gift that makes you happy!
I am participating in MFRW’s 52-week blog challenge, and it’s a blog hop! If you want to see how other authors approach this topic, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.