Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fear of Failure or Fear of Success?? What's stopping you?

There are very few blogs I read, mainly because it's another excuse to procrastinate, but Murder She Writes is one of them. The link is for a post written by guest blogger and reviewer Andrea Sisco, author of A Deadly Habit : A Penelope Santucci Mystery. In her post Andrea writes:
"What if I’m an utter failure? Or, what if I’m a success and then people actually expect something from me and expect that something (a book) every
year?"

This my friends is what we call a Fear of suscess/fear of failure.

After the life I've lived, not much scares me anymore, but that above is it in a nutshell. What if my work becomes a big hit? What if my work tanks and the reviews are so scathing I'll have to change my name and have plastic surgery? (okay, the plastic surgery could be a good thing)

I've written two books and a novella in the last six years, only the latter of which has sold (the novels are still on slush piles so to speak). For nearly four years I've been working on my third novel, House of Cards. Why is it taking me so long to write this book? Again...fear!

Way back when, my former agent read the first hundred pages and said, "Finish this! It's going to be your breakout novel!" (great....no pressure there) Immediately my subconscious kicked in said what if she's right? Now you're going to have to make the follow-up even better. You can't do it!

Needless to say I let that fear stop me and the book hit an iron wall covered in six inches of concrete. Yep, I wrote 1/3 of the book and it stopped. Dead in it's tracks.

I told myself to just give up on the book that it ain't gonna happen (especially after my agent dumped me---so much for believing in me). But, try as I might, I can't give up on the book. Every time I do, new scenes pop into my head, which tells me the story wants to be told. But, am I the best person to tell it? (insecure much?)

Doubt comes second nature to a writer, we all feel it no matter how many books we publish.

I posed this question, the one about Am I the best person to tell the story--not the insecure question-- to another writer Robert Gregory Browne and his answer was "why not?" Okay, his answer was more detailed than that but I forget what it was.

The point he wanted to drive home (with a hammer no less cuz I'm a bit thick in the head) is, unless you're writing a non-fiction book, you don't need to be an expert in the subject you're writing...especially if you're writing about murder...that would be bad. hah Anyway, research is key in writing fiction and as long as you can Google or have a library card, you're going to find what you need to give your book the realism you're hoping for and give the reader that suspension of disbelief.

Is there a key to overcoming the doubts and fears that have you afraid to sit butt in chair and type? Not likely, but commiserating with other writers--either online or face to face helps at least quell some of the doubt so you can continue to write that breakout novel.

I'll let you know how that works out.

So, tell me, have you let fear stop you from reaching your goals/dreams?

And, for another great writer's blog, check out Murderati.

2 comments:

Nichole said...

Terri...thanks for being real about this. I feel so much the same! I feel as though I am on the cusp of some success in writing so I stop writing. I think if we (writers) could get out of our own heads a bit we would see success and be able to handle it.

Keep going! Keep writing!

Terri said...

Thanks for stopping by Nic. I agree, we need to get out of our heads, but sometimes it doesn't happen. Although I do have my good days. ;-)

Good luck to you with your writing!

The Romance Reviews

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