When Fear Holds You Back

Forget everything I said last week about life getting in the way of my writing.  This week, I figured out why I’m really having so much trouble finishing the rewrites on The Suburbs Have Secrets.

It’s fear.

For nearly a decade, my books were insulated by a publisher’s seal of approval. No matter what the public response to my writing, I could take solace in the fact that my editor and publisher liked them.  If they liked my books enough to publish them, then they couldn’t completely stink, right? Their approval provided a safety net whenever the writing demons stuck.  (And trust me, the writing demons strike me a lot.)

In going indie,  I took away that safety net.  Sure, I’ve hired an editor, but because I’m paying her, it doesn’t feel the same.  There’s a demonic, insecure voice whispering in my ear that she doesn’t have the same personal stake in my success as she would if she were responsible for purchasing  the manuscript for publication.

What were you thinking, tackling a new genre? This book is dreck, the voice continues. You’re making a bad manuscript worse with the changes. No one is ever going to want to read this. Or like it. Do you really want to send this out to reviewers so they can  your work as a bad Lifetime movie wannabe? 

The louder these voices get, the slower I write.

Things reached their peak yesterday afternoon when I was researching a beta reading community in Goodreads. Suddenly I had a vision of a dozen readers posting one star reviews announcing this was the worst cozy mystery ever written.

Over the top? Probably. Unrealistic? Definitely. But that didn’t stop me from having a panic attack anyway. Only after some CBT exercises and a stern talking too from my ledge buddy, Donna Alward, did I get a grip on myself and go back to work.

Going indie is scary. Going indie should be scary. It’s a big, bad publishing world out there, and I’d be an idiot to jump in alone without some nerves.   My fear means I care about my product.  My fear helps me carve a better book.

Unless it paralyzes me. Which, I refuse to let it do. As Nelson Mandela once said, “The brave man is not  he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Granted, he was referring to concepts far more important than independent publishing. I’d like to think, though, that he wouldn’t mind if I applied it to my humble life as well.

Therefore, I’ll continue chipping away and have faith that you all will enjoy Sadie’s mystery when I’m finished.


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2 Responses to When Fear Holds You Back

  1. Donna says:

    I am always happy to be your ledge buddy!

  2. Lesley Mathews says:

    Beautiful blog. And you gave me the courage to finish the chapter. I was so sure I couldn’t write it, that the museum had left. Thank you, and keep working. You are a wonderful writer.

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