A soft thud in the night. A creak in the hallway outside your bedroom. A lonely road cutting through a dark forest. All of these can cause fear. However, fear need not be felt in these creepy, eerie locations. One can experience fear when going in for a job interview, on the first day of college, or even writing your first novel. We fear the unknown. What made the thud upstairs? The creak in the hall–just the house settling or something else? What if the car stalled on the road? You wonder if you can present yourself professionally to the prospective employer or if you’ll make friends on the new campus. Writing is no different. It’s a scary process. I’m not even referring to writer’s block, but it, too, can be an unsettling experience.
I remember somebody turning the word fear into an acronym. False Evidence Against Reality. Basically, what that means, is what happens is usually totally different than what was originally imagined. I’ve experienced this countless times in my life, usually when asking a woman to dinner. Okay, my fear about their rejection usually held true, but never in the ways I imagined it.
There are many aspects of fear in writing. I wonder if what I write will sound stupid or even comprehensible. Will I be able to finish the manuscript? I have a story I’m working on at present that I just can’t get through. I want so much for it to be a decent story, but I’m afraid I can’t make it so. Then, after I’ve polished it up and edited the stuffing out of it, I fear I won’t find a publisher or an agent. I’ve pitched my stories to several at different writers’ conferences and afterward I fear their rejection. In 2009, my fears dissolved when two of my stories were accepted. However, a bigger fear loomed. No, I’m not talking about the dreaded red ink from the editor (although that turned out to be a bear to deal with). I’m speaking of marketing. See, I’ve never been good at sales. I worked radio advertising for a couple of years and hated every minute of it. I feared rejection. I dreaded walking into businesses and the owners sending me right back out again a couple of minutes later. Sales are tough. So are marketing and promotion which are a pre-sale type of operation.
Fortunately, I’ve made contacts with various people at these writers’ conferences who have been invaluable to me and have shown me my fears (like usual) were unfounded. Actually, I’ve come to enjoy the promotion. Building a website, joining groups of writers on various other sites, blogging, conducting interviews with authors and media. Distributing business cards, bookmarks, and promotion postcards. Sure, I’ve been frustrated when I run into apathetic people (and yes, I’m still rejected), but for the most part the last year and a half promoting my eBook, NIGHT SHADOWS, has been an eye opening experience, but a enjoyable one. I look forward to continuing the fun with Beta, due out July 15.
You’ll find loads of fear in NIGHT SHADOWS. Lots of spooky fun, too. I’ve found the writing, editing, and the promotion of the book full of anxiety, a little fear, but, for the most part, great fun. If you’re planning on writing your own story one day, do a little planning and strategizing before you start the process. That way, you won’t be so afraid.
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