Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Way ~ Fear

Credit Wikipedia
  • Fear is the enemy. 
  • Fear produces nothing but insecurity. 
  • Fear can paralyze.
  • Fear is counterproductive. 
I know all of this. So why am I talking about fear once again today? Because I've been analyzing my inability to write. I keep saying, when things slow down at bit the muse will return...it always has in the past. But the reality is that my life will never slow down. I move from this or that crisis continuously and always have, but still wrote.

With my previous agents both vying for me to sign with them again... With the talk of a bidding war for publishing right... With me only halfway finished with the rough draft. All of it is adding extra pressure on me. I should be totally excited and invigorated to finish, but I'm not.  So it makes me wonder if I'm not afraid. There are few things in this world that frighten me barring snakes, so why this? Why now? It's not like I haven't been here before. I have. Granted it's been twenty years since my last bidding war, but I have been here before.


I should take my own advice and just write the book? The more time that passes without writing the harder it is to get back into the swing of writing. Granted, I've had more than my share of Murphy's Law hitting me these past few months, but still. When I first started writing books, I had two kids under the age of five, a full time job, and was self-employed as a caterer, but still I wrote. Later, I was recovering from a hellish helicopter crash injuries, with four kids under the age of ten and still I wrote. Later still, I have a terminally ill husband, four grown children, eight grandchildren, two jobs, and still I wrote penning six books in two years. So why now?

Yes, I've had a stroke, but I typed 37K words in a matter of months one-handed. Too many irons in the pot with too many distractions? Possibly. I can't focus as well as I used to. Lack of drive stemming from constant fatigue? That's another factor too. I used to be the type of person that operated very well on three or four hours of sleep at night. While awake I burned the candle at both ends and in the middle. Now it's more fizzle time. Maybe I'm paying for forty years of doing that.

Credit
Shouldn't the prospect of continuing in the traditional publishing rat race, be a bright spot? Many authors would kill for such an opportunity, wouldn't you? Perhaps I'm over thinking the whole situation. I have after all have been an indie author with my own schedule for the past two years and liked the unpressured (almost) lifestyle. If I worked hard at promotion, I saw an instant rise in my pocket in royalties within a month or quarterly time period. If I didn't work hard, the sales still trickled in. With traditional publishing, it's six months, 3 months prior to release and 3 months after. Sporadically after that and I got paid bi-annually until it goes out of print.

Is it fear? Is it insecurity? Is it laziness? Is this the end? I'm just wondering.

8 comments:

Jeremy [Retro] said...

i have the fear that i just cannot write, i know i can write... it's the fear that no one understands me or my way of looking at stuff. you have a great way with words, sometimes i skim posts... yours i actually get something out of them and read them from top to bottom.

you have to gauge some fear to what things are happening in your life, you will overcome and kick fear to the side... now go!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good question! There is a pressure to produce when with a traditional publisher. Maybe fear is a little bit of why I'd rather not write anymore. I'm already having to step up my game every week with my guitar playing - why would I want to double that pressure?
Still not decided though...

Barb Polan said...

Do you LOVE what you've written? Is it possible you're afraid to push through because you doubt yourself?

I am impressed that you've gotten to 37k already. I thought I was halfway finished with my recovery book, but then I used Word Count and saw that I'm at only 13k. 13k? After all those brilliant thoughts and productive writing sessions?

And I have no excuses to slow me down - I quit my freelance editing work. Except for therapy, of course, I'm diligent about that.

Can you inspire yourself by focusing on the 37k completed, not the 37k yet to come out?

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Fear can be debilitating but we all need to persevere.

J.L. Murphey said...

Jeremy- So true. Unfortunately everything in my life right now is up in the air and other than doing one task at a time...I'm lost.

Alex- The pressure with publishing is the next book has got to be as good if not better than the last one. The reason for doing it is something in you that wants to get out.

Barb- in my case it's the editing. I used to be a freelance editor but now I can't edit. At least other than spelling with spell checker.
That may be the key, Barb focusing not on the 37K to go.

Sheena-kay- Perseverance was my unofficial middle name once upon a time. Now I just don't know anymore.

Vicki Paulus said...

Life is all about pros, cons, and balancing these diametrical opposites. Much easier to do when the soul is not beaten down by adversity. I totally get what you are saying and I know personally that the lower my energy bag gets the harder it is to stay on task. Life is short so do what makes you happy at the moment.

Deniz Bevan said...

Good question! I don't seem to have this problem while drafting - but once the story's done and edits need to be made, that's where my laziness and lack of discipline kick in...
I find the Xs on the Forum are wonderful as prompts for diving into a story!

Pk Hrezo said...

I think we all face these same questions. ANd wow I often wonder if I'd still find a way to write if I was reduced to one hand or worse. You're a trooper, indeed. I'd say you just need a little time to romance your muse. Usually after proper pampering, I'm chomping at the bit to get writing again. But I admit, the desire wanes from time to time.