In some ways, it seems silly to write about this topic in connection with being a writer. What am I afraid of anyway? It’s not as though I’m going into battle. Nobody’s going to wave a sword or a gun at me. I’m sitting at a computer pecking out words, for pity’s sake.
But fear is very real. It strikes writers at different stages, and the result is usually paralysis.
Some never finish their stories because of it. For others, getting feedback is the hurdle, and finished drafts languish in drawers and on hard drives, awaiting critique that never comes. Others, having read so many one-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, never find the courage to send out their query letter or self-publish.
I’m lucky. I can finish my stories, no problem. I’ve sent query letters. I’ve put my words out there for critique. Fear hits me when I submit to publishers–any publisher.
I have no idea why.
I don’t cry when I get rejection letters. I usually shrug and tell myself that writers get more rejections than acceptances. But apparently, rejection hits me harder than I’m willing to acknowledge, because clicking the send button can have me procrastinating for weeks.
Stories that are ready get sent out for one more beta round. I put off formatting them because I do, after all, have other stuff that needs to be done. I research published copies of mags, trying to find still more publishers where my work will fit. I read my stories over carefully for the umpteenth time, searching for one last hidden typo, one more word that I could have chosen better. And these are all good things, in moderation. But when I do it for weeks to avoid sending out my stories another time, it’s just procrastination.
Suck it up, buttercup–my stories will be told. Fear is not going to win.