Monday, July 18, 2011

Fear

Warning: Personal post. :P

How many of you are afraid of querying? Afraid of rejection? Afraid of, you know, failing? **raises hand**

I think we all have that fear. Even best selling novelists are afraid sometimes. Afraid their next book won't sell. Afraid their agent/editor will hate their other ideas.

It's a common feeling for every writer to have.

But what about a different kind of fear. What if you're afraid you'll succeed? What if after all your hard work, you land an agent and sell a book? What happens after that?

That has been my biggest fear through this whole publishing journey of mine. I'm actually afraid I'll succeed. For a number of reasons. What if I won't be able to handle reviews? What if everyone hates my book? What if I won't be able to write another book again? How could I even get a book deal? I'm not that good of  a writer! What if I'm known for the book that everyone hates? *sigh*

I sometimes miss the querying stage. Or the first time I realized I wanted to write. I was so naive about everything. The whole publishing business was so secretive and new to me. Now, it's still secretive, but I know a whole lot more about what goes into buying a book. It's crazy. It feels impossible. Overwhelming.

Now, don't get me wrong. I want to sell a book. I want to share my work with the world. I want to hold my book in my hands and smell the crisp new pages. I want to stare at my book sitting on my bookshelf and sigh when I realize how much work I did on it. I want people to fall in love with my characters like I did when I wrote them. I want this. But I also don't know how to handle all the fears that come with it. You know? Because they're real. And I'm human. I'll always have fears no matter what part of my journey I'm in. I just have to learn how to deal with them and believe in myself. Because all it comes down to is that I'm writing for me. I'm writing because I love to write. And if I love my books, nothing else matters.

Do you ever feel afraid of succeeding?

28 comments:

Becky Taylor said...

Believe me, I hear you.

Cherie Reich said...

I'm with you on this. I think that's what halts my progress in having a novel polished and agent/publisher ready. Rejections are hard to take, but I always try my best to prepare myself for them. Anytime I get an email from a publisher, I think "this is a rejection, and that's okay." I daydream about the success, but I don't know how I'll handle it. Rejection is almost easier that way. I've always been like that, even in school with tests/papers/etc. I've almost always done well, but it's easier to plan for the worst-case scenario. It still doesn't stop the love and desire to write, though.

Stephanie McGee said...

I think that my fear is definitely of being successful, of being so successful that they want to make my books into movies. Of being so successful that there's no way that I can interact with fans of my books.

(Deleted the rest of my comment. Getting too long which means it's time for a blog post about it.)

erica and christy said...

I posted about this a couple weeks ago - I'm totally afraid of failure. I can handle rejections at a one-on-one basis, but the chance that I'll NEVER be published haunts me...

I've heard of the fear of success, but I don't think I have it. If I get past the failure and on to published, I guess time will tell! Hang in there!
erica

linda said...

Definitely! I struggle so much with both. I'm afraid to turn out to be a big fat failure. But I'm also afraid of succeeding, because that means expectations, and failing to live up to those is so much scarier than failing quietly by myself.

Phil said...

Chantele - Thank you for admitting something that many of us (myself included) are afraid to. I do have some trepidation about reaching the next level, those feelings of "what if all this actually happens?" If I'm lucky enough to reach the next level, then I'll have bigger issues to face. It's like a sequel.

You just have to believe that you are strong enough to handle whatever gets thrown at you. I think you are!

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I'm afraid of this, too. It's actually a broader sort of fear for me. I'm terrified by change. Almost to the point of inability sometimes. Buying a house. Getting married. Changing jobs. It's the what next that scares me. I just want to keep things the way I already know them.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Emily Rittel-King said...

I'm afraid of what the effects will be on my family. How will it affect us all?
Your personal post was very profound. Thanks for sharing.

Kelley Vitollo said...

You and me both. It's so hard. I thought my fear would be over once I got an agent and now I feel like I have even more to fear! I don't think it will ever end. *sigh*

Jolene Perry said...

Totally with you.

I wrote a book that I love above all other books I've written and I'm terrified that I'll never write another one I love quite as much.

Nisa said...

Oh man, I am so afraid I won't be able to handle bad reviews. Yup. Failure and I don't get along.

Ruth Josse said...

I'm afraid of pressure. There have been times in my life where I have handled stress rather badly. I'm afraid I won't be able to tackle the pressures that come along with success. Also, I'm kind of a private, shy person and I don't know how that will mesh with the publishing world.

I've learned to try and deal with the challenge at hand rather than the overwhelming big picture that can make my head spin if I let it. You know, the take it one day, one step at a time approach.

Great, honest post!

Patti said...

I totally understand this. What makes me the most scared about succeeding is all the work it will take to succeed and if I'll be able to manage it all.

Sarah Pearson said...

Thank you for this, you've put into words something I've been struggling with for a while. It's a long way away for me yet but it's there, and it's real.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Fear of success is very real, because of raised expectations. Yes, there's a ton of stuff on the other side and your life will never be the same. But I bet you can handle it, Chantele!

Heidi said...

I'm not so much afraid of succeeding or of failing as of putting all this work into it and then realizing that I was wasting my time when I could've been relaxing, sleeping, hanging with my family, or watching TV.

LynNerd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda Sills said...

YES! I worry like crazy that when I get published (notice my positive-thinking WHEN not IF!) that I'll have to spend too much time on all the aspects of the biz that my time with my family will fall short. Now that's a nightmare for me and it would never, ever do. My family means everything to me, so I would have to be talented at managing my time in such a way that missing too much time with my family wouldn't even be an issue because it just wouldn't happen. Thanks for the wonderful, thought-provoking, let-us-into-your-world post!

LynNerd said...

Darn, lost my comment. Let's see if I can remember what I said. Basically, the whole journey seems to be a roller coaster ride, and we should enjoy the high points and do our best to get through the low spots. The support of our blogging community helps so much.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Thank you so much for all of your comments today. They made me feel so much better and I know I'm not alone in this! :)

LynNerd said...

I'm glad you're feeling better about it, Chantele. I deleted my comment because I typed in the wrong word. It sounded stupid. See, I even have fears about how stupid my comments might sound! Seems like we're forever scrutinizing ourselves, huh?

Shallee said...

Kind of makes me think of that quote that I'm now going to slaughter by bad paraphrasing-- something about our deepest fear being not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.

It's a fear I struggle with too. *hugs* It takes courage to succeed, as much as it does to fail and try again, and you're obviously courageous enough to face it. Let's go out and be courageous together. :)

Angie Cothran said...

Oh, I love it. It's like writing therapy :) You pin pointed all the same things I think. We should charge each other. I think I owe you 5 cents. I'll get it right to you :)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

@Angie Cothran I'll be expecting that 5 cents! LOL :)
@Shallee I do have courage, although sometimes it's lacking! lol ;) Thanks, Shallee! Let's do be courageous together!

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

You have to remember that NOBODY will love your book more than you and that no matter what there will always be something to fear. The key is in getting back up every time and shrugging it off. Learn. Grow. WRITE. :)

I need to take my own advice...

Peggy Eddleman said...

Totally. Every part of it is scary. Yet we want EVERY PART OF IT. Um.... Are we crazy? Sometimes I think yes.

Melanie Jacobson said...

Um, YES. And I thought it would get better on the verge of the second book, but it's not.

I think only neurotic people are drawn to writing.