Indulge in your worst writing nightmare, the biggest fears that interfere with your work. Write it all down, all of the bad things that you fear could happen to you if you write your story. Then set the piece of paper on fire, dump the ashes into the toilet and flush.
OK OK. I am going to FIGURATIVELY set paper on fire because I have a fear of fire and so I won’t be playing with setting THINGS (other than incense sticks, candles, or sage) on fire OK?
So, here are all the bad things that I feel could happen to me if I write my story.
Huh, as I start to write this, I am realizing that a lot of things I feared have already come to play. I’ve been rejected by agents. I’ve had a manuscript shopped and rejected by every publisher in New York. I wrote another novel, only to have that one rejected by my agent. I’ve had novels workshopped and shit on in front of entire rooms of people.
And I survived.
So, let’s go beyond that. What if I finally get published, and the work doesn’t even get picked up by bookstores? It just languishes in the back rooms of warehouses? It doesn’t go beyond a first printing.
What if I get published, it becomes a NYT Best-seller, and then it gets totally shit on by reviewers?
What if I get published, it becomes a NYT Best-seller, and then it gets totally shit on by everyone?
What if I get published, and I get mega famous, like Stephenie Meyer famous, and my book becomes something to be ridiculed, something that people have to be ashamed that they like?
What if I get published, and I get wildly successful, like JK Rowling successful, and I can’t handle it?
Yeah, I know I am thinking REALLY BIG here. I mean, pipe dream big. And look at the fears. They’re dumb. Why should I care if I’m getting shit on by reviewers–not everyone is going to like my work. And that’s something I have to keep pounding into my head. If my story moves one person, ONE PERSON, that should be enough right? Because I can’t lie and say I’m writing just for myself. Because I’m not. I’m writing because I want people to enjoy and love my stories.
I really worry that I just don’t have it anymore. But then I’ll re-read a blog entry or something and think “Wow, that’s really nice. Maybe I *am* still a writer.”
My fears are all over the place.
But I think my main fear is “What if this is all a waste of time?”
Because that’s what writing is. It’s a gamble. It’s a gamble every single step of the way, and if I’m not doing it simply because I love it and because I have stories that need to be told? Then I’m not a real writer.
If I’m doing it because I hope to be the next blockbuster millionaire? I’m not a real writer.
I have to get back into loving writing for the sake of writing, and if publication and beyond is part of that path, then embrace it! It’ll be a bonus, right?
I’m still trying to find my dharma, and seeing if writing is part of it. It is something that keeps coming up in my life so I think it might be. Now I just need to figure out the means to get there.