…tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding. (Art and Fear, David Bayles & Ted Orland 1993)
Sorry this post is late this week. I was under the gun to get the revisions done on the final book of my 72 Hours Till Love trilogy. My editor hasn’t signed off quite yet, but the end is definitely getting close. This means it’s time to start thinking about my “super-seekrit project”.
The Super-seekrit project, or SSP, is my first foray into single title writing. It’s never good to keep all your eggs in one basket, as they say, and while I love writing category length novels, I thought I’d try my hand at writing a longer, more mainstream novel. Needless to say, I’m nervous. In many ways, I’m jumping into the unknown. Writing longer means stretching myself as a writer, and frankly, I’m nervous that my chops might not be ready for the stretch.
But, the I had a long talk though with my mentor, the awesome Donna Alward who made this jump a couple years ago. She reminded me to focus on one small goal at a time. Rather than stress out that the book might never sell, focus on the challenge of writing something new. Completing a bigger book will be, in itself, a victory.
She’s right, of course. After talking with her, I dug out my copy of Art and Fear. Reading it reminded me that nerves are good and that pushing myself beyond my comfort zone will help my skills grow. What’s that old saying? The only guaranteed failure is failing to act. (Or something like that.)
These past few months, I’ve been looking at what makes successful, effective writers. One of the things I’ve noticed is that today’s successful writers have a fearlessness about them. They aren’t afraid to try new things or push themselves, and damn the consequences. I liken them in many ways to downhill skiers who hurl themselves down the course knowing very well they might crash and burn on the way. More often than not, however, they reach the finish line.
To be truly successful at anything, you need to have a bit of fearlessness. This sounds very fundamental, but for someone like me, who was raised to be fearful of everything, it’s a challenge. One I hope, that over the next four months, I will rise to.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress. In the meantime, keep challenging yourselves as well.