Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh
for hosting the IWSG


November, with its cozy fall mixture of auburn and gold, the chill in the air, the cranberry mold, reminds us to pause for a moment and hold those dear to us close to our hearts. Ah…it’s few and far between that I wax poetic, but there’s something about the 5:00 quiet of the morn that gets my rhyme on. Now December, on the other hand, reminds me of how thankful I am that November is over. Dang, that month was a killer! 
It’s time to forget about all the craziness of the NaNoWriMo, because for me, not hearing that word for another 330 days is the biggest blessing of the holiday season. No…it’s time to grab our manuscripts by the cajones and move on to the next step in the process. There is no rest for the writer on a mission to bring his story to light.
Yet there are many dark corners and scary shadows on the journey from brain to bookshelf. I got stuck in one the other day and couldn’t find a way out, at least for awhile, and that scary shadow is clingy and hard to shake. He keeps tapping on my shoulder, following in my footsteps. A close relative of Fear, his name…is Doubt.
Yes, Doubt infiltrated my 3:00 afternoon power nap and would not leave me alone. As I laid there, my mind raced through a thousand different scenarios, none of them good. The nap started off great, though. Drifting off to sleep signing a five-book deal with Scholastic, I was in heaven. But Doubt crept in from the shadowy corner of my medulla oblongata and reminded me that there was still much to do before that time came. 
My eyes popped wide open and I heard my stomach wince, felt the acid burn another hole. Who was I out of hundreds of thousands of talented writers? Do I have what it takes? There are revisions, critiques, rewrites, beta reads, more rewrites, more reads, pitch after pitch after pitch, rejection after rejection after rejection. Can I weather this? I’m running out of time!  
Like many of you, this is a mid-life career change for me. Making the most of a difficult situation, I decided to journal about it, which awakened the more creative side of my writing, yearning to be explored. It led to Monty Tucker and the pursuit to become an author of young adult fiction. But like any new job, there’s the whole orientation process. I feel like I’m on the longest probationary period ever. When are the benefits going to kick in?
Well into my 40’s, I don’t have time to make (too many) mistakes. In reading the abundance of information at my fingertips, it’s been reiterated time and again that agents and publishers want an investment, a writer who is more than “one and you’re done,” and when one gets to my age in life, they consider the productive years left. This has to be great from the starting gate, and with the promise of an outstanding showing in the second race, too.
So it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, because not only is there Monty to polish up and spit-shine, but at least a rough draft of Monty II to pen and a detailed plan of the whole Monty Series. That’s what stares me down in my mid-afternoon dozings from the crevices of that wrinkled oblongata.
And the scariest pitch that Doubt is throwing is that, after all the time and the work and the sacrifices and the money, it’s just no damn good.
One word at a time. There’s no need to let the fear dominate. Deeeep breath. It can either be Forget Everything And Run, or Face Everything And Revise. I like the latter. 
Where are the Tums?

36 thoughts on “IWSG — F.E.A.R.

  1. I love the acronym FEAR. Especially the second one. I should put that up on my bulletin board. Of course, you and I are in the er…fall… of our lives, but people have started later! I like to believe it just adds depth and wisdom to our writing. You know I'm a hooked fan of the Monty book and series idea– I just think it has incredible possibilities and is striking a different chord than the typical YA book. Great post, as always, thanks.

  2. That's what I keep telling myself…all those years before were giving me that depth and wisdom. Now everything's ready to be plucked from the vine.Just read your post – loved it. And thanks for being Monty's first fan. I'll have lots of merchandise to sell you…starting with a Monty bobblehead. I just love those things.

  3. I can relate to that so much. And fear is a funny thing. It grabs you out of nowhere and makes you doubt things you didn't give a moment's thought about yesterday. Great post!(And LOL about 330 days without NaNo. xD I'm not sure if it's more irritating to those who participate or those who don't. :P)IWSG #145 until Alex culls the list again. 🙂

  4. Yeah, I've been on top of the world after the month was over, but then reality set in. Still so much to do…easy to get discouraged!Yeah, that's the new "N" word to avoid!

  5. I prefer the latter too! Being well into my 40s too, I can relate to everything you are saying (well, except that I don't have a novel to polish, sigh). I love your positive attitude and your benefits will come. Kick doubt to the curb, he's not a perk of the career. Congrats on winning Nano, you rock! 🙂

  6. Fear comes in many guises and you are right – f you can turn it on it's head and see it as a positve you are well on your way to conquering it. I love the second one _ I shall try and remember that when I am struggling!

  7. Great post. Rambling anxiety is the best. :)But, I laugh when you say you don't have time to make (too many) mistakes! That's what life is all about, making mistakes and learning from them. Without those mistakes, our growth would be lil nothin' to nothin' at all. But, it's also amazing that no matter what accomplishments we've reached so far, we are still so filled with anxiety over the next hurtle. I hope to learn to do what I envy about others – to go with the flow, do my best, and thank God he's taken the stress away.

  8. I started writing for publication when I was about 15 and started submitting when I was about 17, therefore I never had time for fear because I was too young and naive to realise things could go wrong. I approach my writing 'knowing' it's going to be awesome (whether it actually is is another matter entirely lol)

  9. Birthdays and new years – you've got to love them for stirring up introspection.Firstly, regarding your diminishing years on earth. Wha!? My aunt just published her first novel at age 70, and she has a contract to write 2 more, and the passion to do it.If you don't live a little first, what would you write about? And how convincing would it be? Nothing against young writer's – I remember the energy and fearlessness of youth – but when the time's right, the time's right.But I hear you. As an introvert, I am terrified of sending things into the world, especially when people are so darn polite.

  10. That's an acronym I can live by.I've had the same thoughts lately, right down to the Tums, so I'm completely on your side of the boat (and if we get any more to join us, we'll capsize – but I'm up for a swim party!). What matters is you're starting and you're passionate about it. I once met the former VP of FranklinCovey who quit so he could … write! How's that for a career change? You're gonna make it! 🙂

  11. I'm always anxiously rambling! I never consider a mistake an error if I've learned something from the lesson. I just don't want too many lessons thrown my way. ;o)I look to Him for all my strength to get through the fearful times. And together, we make it.

  12. I approach things similarly, and if you read some past posts, I'm pretty downright cocky at times! Haha. It's my own mind that feeds that doubt, though. And the critics. :o)

  13. Great insight, Egg, and so happy to hear that news about your aunt. There may be hope yet…I agree with the live a little philosophy. I could never pen a piece as deeply when I was younger. I just didn't know…Thanks for coming by. LOVED your blog today.

  14. Face everything and revise. I love it. I have two finished manuscripts that need a MAJOR revise and I'd been dragging my feet on doing it because of that doubt you talked about. They are a priority for 2013.I understand the additional pressure of being on the other side of 40. In fact, that is what created the impetus for me to finally make my fiction writing a priority. Now I need to take the same approach to my freelance and magazine writing.

  15. Ain't that the truth, Roxanne?! I've got to get it all in gear. I do wish I had the energy of my youth, though.Loved reading about your release coming out next year! Methinks that I co-hosted your first interview with that hop! :o) I'm a talk-show host now.

  16. Mike, when we focus too hard and too long on everything needing to be done, our natural impulse is to Forget Everything And Run. When I get overwhelmed by all I want to accomplish I try to step out of that space and focus on only one thing at a time. When we focus on how big the mountain is, we make excuses for not wanting to climb. But if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains without having to climb them. Focusing on small chunks of my goals, and my ability to move mountains, makes me feel more productive in my journey and less fearful. Albeit I do have days when the mountain laughs in my face and creates a rockslide on my head. 🙂

  17. From what I hear, you're absolutely correct. There must be promise of future success. And it's scary to think along those lines for folks like us who don't come with a built in reader base. But it's also a challenge and challenge drives us to do our best. Face Everything And Revise indeed.

  18. Fantastic use of acronyms, M.L.! And of course, a poignant post. So many of us share the same fears about our hard work not getting picked up, not getting published, not ending up anywhere. However, surviving NaNoWriMo (sorry for saying it) is quite a feat and if your eloquent writing style featured within your blog is any indication of what is contained in your WIP, I have little doubt that your Doubt is all that much to worry about. Good luck with the December revisions!

  19. Demetria, that comment was so inspirational. Most times I look to Him to allay my fears, and I'm okay. It's at those times when I'm facing a mountain of mustard seeds that it's overwhelming. He tells me to make Dijon.And you hit the nail on the head…that's exactly what it was…looking at everything at once and feeling overwhelmed. Thanks for the down-to-earth advice! :o)

  20. Thanks for stopping by, Jeff. Yes, that's what all this is about (the blogging)…putting myself out there and hoping that once the book is done, there's at least a little name recognition.


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