Unorthodox Writing Tips 39: Fearlessness
It’s easy to find yourself afraid at some point in your life. For many people it starts with a fear of the dark or the fear of being alone. Perhaps a fear of high places and the fear of falling. Fear comes in many forms and some people never conquer these fears.
My mom is afraid of anything that is alive and flies. If it’s alive and it’s in the air, she’s freaking out. That’s just how it goes for her. I had a buddy whose son was terrified of butterflies. Some fears are tangible, others not so much.
Some people are able to look fear in the eye and not flinch. They live for the rush. They fly the fastest planes, they do double front flips on BMX bikes off massive jumps, they risk life and limp to do things that normal people wouldn’t even thing of doing.
Then there are people just like you and me. We lead normal lives for the most part. We not out driving cars at 200 MPH but instead driving at the posted speed limit (maybe we’ll creep a little bit over) on our way to the grocery store or to drop off the kid(s) at a sporting event. Our lives are filled with many mundane things. Something fearful might rattle us, but for the most part we understand what scares us and either avoid those situations or know how to handle ourselves.
If you’re reading this and you’re like me you also write. Or you want to write. Or you’d like to write more. Deep down there’s that lingering fear. What will others think of this when they read it? Will anyone read it? Will I be able to handle the rejection if someone doesn’t like it? What if I get a terrible review? Is my writing good enough? This is an awful lot of work to put into something that I might never make any money doing.
That’s where you need to realize what this fear really is so you can face it. It’s the fear of the unknown. People face this under normal circumstances. My Favorite Daughter is afraid to go on Space Mountain because she’s never been on it and can’t see it. Yet she loves Thunder Mountain because it’s (for the most part) on the ground. She’s scared of what she can’t see. Her only way to over come this fear will be to face it head on and deal with the aftermath of her decision once she’s ventured forth.
That’s what writing it all about. It’s putting aside that fear for a moment and trying it out. Then putting that fear aside again and continuing. It’s putting that fear in a box, locking it away and pushing on. Once you’ve completed a work, it’s keeping that fear and doubt in check and sending your work out for others to look over or to send it to an agent, a publisher, a market. Yes all those bad things might happen. They all might happen on your first work. They might all happen on your second through tenth work. It might happen over and over again.
This is all a learning process. Even established writers still struggle with these same fears, but they’ve understood that if they write something to the best of their abilities, learn from all those early issues their work had and applied it to works going forward. They not only learned from those early works and what needed to change with their writing, they also learned to manage that fear and keep sending out work despite the knowledge that even though they’ve been published before, this might get rejected just as quickly as anything they’d previously written.
Writing is an unsure prospect. It’s not as easy as quitting your job at one company and looking for a job in another company. In publishing things change quickly. I’ve read many stories about an author well liked by an editor at one publishing house only to see that editor get replace with one that can’t stand the author’s work. Suddenly they went from a near sure thing to being right back where they started. This has been happening to mid-list authors for years.
There’s a lot to be afraid of when it comes to writing, but there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to the actual act of creation. If you’re seeking publication then it’s a matter of perseverance. It’s a matter of facing the fear of rejection and moving on. It’s a matter of being the type of person that will continue to type out stories and put them out there to see what sticks.
Writing isn’t easy. I’ve said this many times before. Those who face the challenge, learn from this mistakes to improve their craft, and face their fears head and and continue even when it seems like you’re the only one that likes what you’re producing, those are the ones that will find publication. Those are the ones that have a chance at making this into a career. Don’t be afraid. Sit, type, submit. Repeat as many times as needed. It does get easier as time goes on and you’re realize it’s not as scary as you’re making it out to be.
Until Next Time!