Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Gwanny posted something at StoryCrafters today that caught my attention. And I think it is true for a lot of us.

Here's her comments...

"I admitted to Lee tonight that the fear of failure re this query letter has been eating at me since Friday.

...I am a coward and for some reason afraid of succeeding...make sense? Prolly not, but I know failure better than I know success. It's like an old friend."

Fear of failure is a biggie for probably all of us at one time or another. Why else do we edit, rewrite, edit and then rewrite and edit some more before we send out a piece. Sure, we want it the best we can get it but there are times we edit and rewrite to the point we are just changing things we changed three rewrites ago. That's a sure sign we have gone over the rewriting cliff.

Fear of failure is also the reason submissions sit on our desks so long the price of stamps go up and we have to redo the submission package.

But...the fear of succeeding, that seems to make no sense. Yet how many of us know we write well (at least well enough to sale) and still don't send out things?

Here's where the troll bares part of her soul:--) I'm dealing with this to a degree right now. I'm not afraid of being rejected with my nonfiction project. But what if he loves the first chapters I send? That means I have to write the rest of it even better. What if everyone who reads it loves it and recommends it to others who love it? That means the next project must even be better...and again I wonder if I'm able to live up to those expectations.

Most of you know I have Mary for my Long Ridge novel course instructor. Gosh how that scares me at times. Yeah, I insisted on her when I signed up. Because I knew she would be best able to teach me what I need to know but sending assignments to her really, really take nerve. Why you ask? Because I've seen so much improvement in my writing, I feel I'm expected to not make mistakes. She knows how much I've improved and expects me to write well...and I don't want to let her down. Yes, that is a personal issue I'm dealing with now and not something I've gotten from her but it still bothers me at times.

Also, what could success bring to us writers? Fame and fortune we hope. But what about fans who expect a great next book? Can we write books that people want to read again and again or is one good book all we have in us??? And that fame and fortune, what does it bring? Book signings, speaking engagement and more of the unknown future.

As Gwanny said, failure is an old friend. We've all gotten rejection letters. We are used to them. If truth be told, I bet we expect them more than we expect acceptance letters. I mean, why else do we have several places in mind for each piece we gather the nerve to send out?

So...I guess the thing to do is decide what we are going to do with our fear. I think I'll suck it up, gather my courage and get to work. Want to join me?



gwanny said...

I'm with you. And what you said is dead on. Once we reach the level where we say to ourselves Hey I can do this, we expect more from ourselves. When we reach a level of acceptance from others tho the price gets even higher.

Perfect post Speck. From one scardycat to another, lets enter into one more dark scary room together.


Cheryl said...

We writers sure do seem to be a fickle bunch--we want to succeed, but then...well, the pressure is on to perform.

I'll just let you tie a rope around my waist so I can follow Gwanny and you into that dark scary room.


Lori said...

Great post and right on target. Fear can cripple you...Can I write this well consistently?

A Christian minister I admire once what if your it anyway.

So let's just do it anyway.