Okay, I’m just going to come right out and say it … I’m a scaredy cat. Flat out, yellow bellied wuss of the nth degree. And yes, that includes horror movies and ghost stories. But that’s not the fear I’m chatting about today.

I’m talking about the fear of failure.

Now don’t get me wrong … I love a new challenge. I’ll try most things at least once. (Multiple times if it’s fun 😉 ) What I’m afraid of is my manuscript. Yep, I said it. The thought of opening that puppy and staring down at the blinking cursor raises my blood pressure and starts my heart a-fluttering (and not in a good way). It didn’t used to be that way. I used to be able to sit down at the computer and happily pound out scene after scene in ignorant bliss. Not so much anymore.

I’ve learned enough about the correct way to craft a story that I worry I’m not doing it quite right. (Not that there aren’t lots of nuances of “correct”, but that’s a blog for another day.)

I love my stories and I’m really proud of them. I have fallen in love with the characters even as they have fallen in love with each other. But now I worry. Will this story be as good as the first (or second) in the series? Will the readers relate to the characters and love them as much as I do? Will they cry during this scene? What if …

Yeah, there it is … WHAT IF I can’t do it again? (See? My knees went a little weak there?) I know … it’s so dumb. Because if I’d just open that document and start typing the words will flow (well, as much as they do for me) and all would be right with my world. (And my editor. *g*) I know the more I’m away from it, the harder it will be to return. Like every other muscle, my brain needs exercise. And just like how easy it is NOT to go to the gym, I can fritter away the whole day without adding one sentence to my manuscript.

Bad. Bad Me!

Okay, so this is it, me kicking myself in my arse and opening my manuscript and working on it. That cursor isn’t going to intimidate me today. It can blink like Rudolph’s shiny nose and I’m not going to run from it. Because in reality … no publisher ever published an unwritten book! LOL!

How about you, what scares you the most and how do you overcome it?

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18 Responses to Afraid? Who Me?

  • I don’t know…I’m not afraid of my manuscript, but I understand your fear. I guess sometimes I just find all sorts of reasons not to write because I’m so stressed in other areas of my life.
    What am I afraid of? People…bad people…

  • Nina, I’m with you. Every time I sit down to write, I have the same fear. Not just every time I begin a new project but every time I begin a new scene in the current project.
    Oh, and I’m also terrified of shape-shifting zombies.

    • Susan – ROFLMAO … yeah, I’m sure shape-shifting zombies would be hard to run from.

      That fear is crazy isn’t it? Somehow we manage to push through. Thanks for stopping by.

  • I’m afraid of failing by not finishing. When I start writing a book, that’s in the back of my mind. It can be a self-fulfilling prophecy if I let it take over.

  • Since I am not a writer, there is no fear of failing to write, but as a reader: will I understand what the author is trying to convey? will I do justice when I talk about this story?
    As a person – snakes, nasty creatures, yuck, just saying that word give me the screaming memes. Let’s not talk about TV with them or a book with a description. The last movie of Harry Potter, I had to walk out because of them. Now that is bad.

  • Nina,
    I know what you mean. I’m petrified of that blinking cursor and blank page. But I just try to not pay too much attention to them and write something…anything. You can’t fix what’s not there. Oh, and what am I afraid of? Like you ghosts. Shows, movies, anything about ghosts freaks me out. I love paranormal stuff, but for whatever reason, the ghosts get me!

    • Brenna – And there you have it, you can’t edit a blank page. I know this. *sigh* I don’t mind ghosts in stories I just don’t want to see anymore. (Yes, I’ve seen several throughout my life.)

  • Nina, I’m with you. Before I “knew how to write” I had no problem zipping along with no tags, mixed metaphors, unaligned body parts, and POV problems I didn’t even recognize.

    *Sigh* Those were the good old days of ignorance. Now, gosh, I’m lucky if I can get a sentence out without revising it three times.

    Great post. I don’t feel so feeble-brained now. 🙂


    • Gem – There it is. Yes, the writing was flawed, but it flew from my fingertips. I want to find that again and then just go back and edit the mess. *sigh*

  • Professional jealousy. Scares the hell out of me. I hate that feeling of the green eyed monster when my peers rocket to the top and I am left staring at my screen sometimes saying: When will it happen to me?

    It’s not the fear of failure–its the fear of a self defeating attitude.

    • Jennifer – As happy as we are for our peers, it’s impossible not to sometimes think “Why can’t that be me?” It’s part of this crazy world of publishing.

      With your amazing talent I know your time will come. Keep plugging friend.

  • I definitely identify. Once you start seeing yourself as a professional, all the feelings of inadequacy come roaring back. I wrote my first novel as a lark and it was easy. Now writing is like pulling teeth. Having deadlines looming only makes it worse.

    It’s actually not so much fear, I realize, that sometimes keeps me from writing, as not wanting to experience the discomfort of sitting there, trying so hard to get it right.

    (Great post topic!)

    • Lisabet – Oh, that says it better. Not the fear of falling completely on my face, but worrying about not getting it right no matter how much I rearrange the words and shuffle the paragraphs. *sigh*

  • Fear is only normal. A performer gets flutter before going on stage. No matter how many times I am told it looks or sounds good, I am still full of doubt. I think it may be human nature to think it can always be better. That our best is just not good enough. Very hard to overcome but we just have to believe in ourselves.

    • Gayle – That is so true. The best we can do doesn’t always feel good enough. Sometimes I wish human nature weren’t so, well … human. 😉

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