We know there are professions that come with a level of fear attached. Firefighters, cops, military personnel—these folks are doing jobs that put their lives on the line all the time. Overcoming and channeling their fears is part of their training.
But a writer? What are we afraid of? Paper cuts? Power failures? Losing files? Hardly life-threatening. However, there are still things that frighten writers. Fear? Maybe not. But darn powerful insecurities.
Our job is a constant battle with these insecurities.
For example, I just sent my newest manuscript, Deadly Bones (a sequel to Deadly Secrets) to my editor. Although I sent her the cleanest copy possible, it's not her finding typos that scares me. It's sitting on pins and needles until I get the manuscript back. Or worse, the fear that I'll get an email from her saying, "What were you thinking with this book? I'm not going to waste my time editing it."
Or, you get edits back, and they're not really edits—they're revisions, so you have to make a multitude of changes, and then you're afraid the book won't be the same.
With each book we write, we're afraid it won't measure up. That whatever meager talent we possess will dry up, and even if we have more stories to tell, they won't be as good as the last one. And "as good" isn't good enough. They have to be better. So we worry whether or not we've already written our best book, and if we're on a downhill slide.
When I started writing, people told me not to worry too much about the book's title, or to get attached to the one I picked, because publishers usually changed them. Not so with mine, and, for me, finding the right title is scary. With only one exception, my titles are the last things I write. Imagine how I felt when I re-released a book and had to come up with a second title for it!
Then, what if you find that "perfect" title and take the next step—checking Google or Amazon to see if there are any other books with that title—and you find three pages of them. If you're an Indie author, there's no publisher to take the blame if your title doesn't resonate.
Cover art. More fears. If you're traditionally published, you can still end up with a bad cover. With traditional publishers, it's usually – "if your name is spelled right, this is your final cover." If you're indie, you have no one to blame but yourself. (On the flip side, if you're indie, you can change it.)
If we're writers, we want to write. We don't always want the responsibilities of all the "extra" stuff, and having to learn that side of the business is scary.
Once we have the final product, we let it loose into the world and fear nobody will buy it. With traditional publishers, you'll get a royalty statement maybe twice a year. In the meanwhile, you have no clue if your book is selling, and it's kind of an out of sight, out of mind thing. If you're indie published, you can check your sales figures all day (and all night) long. Why didn't I sell any copies of this book today? Yesterday I sold ten. Why did my rankings drop? Do I need to pay for ads? Send out review copies. But what if reviewers don't like my book?
I might not worry about someone pulling a gun at a traffic stop, but I have plenty of fear.
|Does the pumpkin scare you?|
|How about this zombie? Courtesy of Jason Odell|
What about you? Do you worry about your writing? What scares you? And if you're a reader (and authors are readers, too), you can help dispel some of those fears by simply telling authors you liked their books. A quick email is all it takes to brighten an author's day. And posting it publically, via Facebook, Twitter, or a review at Amazon, B&N, or Goodreads can really send fears flying.
Terry Odell is the author of the popular Pine Hills Police Series and the Blackthorne, Inc. Series. You can find out more about them, as well as her stand-alone romantic suspense novels HERE. Her newest release, Nowhere to Hide, can be found here. You can find her at her Web site. If you've followed her blog (or want to start!), note that it's moved and is now HERE. You can follow her on Twitter, or visit her Facebook page.