Thursday, April 26, 2012

Some thoughts on fear

I am a bit worried. All I seem to write about right now is fear.

Every time I write a book, I am afraid.

Not only do I fear that what I write won't be as good as the last thing, but I fear that it won't be any good at all.  I fear these things because they are true and real things to be afraid of.  I know this because I have written things that are "not as good" as the last thing, and indeed, I have written things that I could not make come together...things that were  not "any good at all."
And when that happens, I am going to be honest, it stinks.  I want to always be improving upon myself, my goal is always to get better--not worse!  And happens.

And I wish it didn't.

There is no guarantee that when you sit down to write, something magical will happen.  There is never a guarantee. And since this is the case, it might seem like too much of a gamble, or even a waste of time.

And you never know until it's too late.  You never know until the time, the toil, the sweat, and the tears have been spent if what you have poured your soul into is very good.

I know I am not alone in knowing this, but it still feels lonely. Perhaps the loneliest time in a writer's life is facing the fear, head on.  Because really, even if you have a crit group, you are always battling the monster alone.  You use your own hands to pick up the sword and you take those tentative steps in your own shoes...

And I am writing this as much to myself as to anyone who reads this.  The fear is always there, but we cannot let it cripple us.  We cannot let it determine if a book gets written or not.

We have to be brave and try, even though we know that the battle might end in some seriously-not-good-stuff.  Better that than a blank page, I say.



Stephanie Thornton said...

This is precisely why I hate first drafts. I'm always petrified that what I'm writing is total garbage. Sometimes I'm able to remind myself that it doesn't matter because I'll make it better when I revise.

I did have one project that just couldn't be salvaged. That was sad, but I guess I'm still alive and writing so it must not have been that bad.

All part of the process, eh?

Jess said...

Did you feel that way when you were writing "Good Night, Good Knight"? Because I read that to my daughter last night as her bedtime story, and she LOVES it. She laughs and claps and anticipates the clever repetition and thinks it's wooooonderful. And so do I :)

You've brought a lot of joy and bonding to people and super-people(aka kids), and please know that we're confident that you can do it again. And again. And again.

No worries, Queen. All will be well :)

Jess said...

PS~ I can't wait until she's old enough to read The Seven Tales of Trinket, too (she's 3, so it'll be a few years)!

Julie Dao said...

You are not alone! I start every project confident but mostly feel terrified during the whole writing process. But I think that strengthens us and allows us to give ourselves room to improve.

Anonymous said...

Stopping by to say hello! Thanks for this post. You are not alone in your thoughts on fear.

You write such wonderful books, and I know you will write many more.

Thank you for always being so honest with things like this. It lets others know they are not alone.

Have a wonderful day!

Jemi Fraser said...

Fear is debilitating. I am really going to have to push myself to send out queries when I think this story is ready. Not sure my skin is thick enough!

Unknown said...

I would love to meet a writer who doesn't feel this way. I don't see it as a bad thing. I see it as a way to help us challenge ourselves. :D

Anita said...

Hmm...I think I know before the end, whether it's going to be good. And I think if the story has a strong premise and the writer has talent (like you), the story can be vastly improved even after it's "done." Of course we all get afraid, though. Sending you brave thoughts!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I'm always scared too. I think most of are like that...Maybe that's why we are always striving to be better or learn more about our craft.

I am sure what you wrote is wonderful. Remember, you are the Story Queen.