The Frustration of Fear

I have a lot of time on my hands to think about things. It’s an upside and a downside to being a full time writer. The upside is the creativity that can emerge on any given day. I can analyse every step of a plot point and try to follow it to its natural conclusion.

I said “can” because I’m actually a seat of the pants writer. Sometimes I’ll reach a section and say to myself, “Ohhh, that’s why I wanted to mention the driveway being on a hill, so my character could slide down it later. Awesome!”. I try to say it’s foreshadowing but really I’m just tossing bullshit and hoping something sticks.

I turn that analysis on everything;politics, religion, the people I know and don’t, Social Media and any number of things.

Recently I turned it onto myself.

I’ve officially written three novels. I say official because they are complete and everything. One of them even says The End on the last page. They’ve been published on Amazon by myself and now they’re going to be redone and published once more via Booktrope, a neat indie publisher from Seattle I’m very excited about.

I’m in the process of editing the first manuscript. That essentially involves rewriting entire chapters and scenes in some spots and hearing my editor’s (non)snarky voice as I edit sentences to make sure said¬†sentences make sense. At the moment I have the finale of the book and that’s it, send that to her and off we go on the next round of editing which is more about proper grammar and smoothness.

For some reason I can’t bring myself to even load the manuscript.

It’s driving me crazy – or crazier than I’ve always been. I’m motivated, excited at the idea of getting my words out there to a broader audience than I already have and, Christ, the main part of my goals/dreams has been met – a publisher likes my work.

But for some reason I can’t bring myself to even load the manuscript.

I had a flashback over the weekend. Extremity was the first novel I completed. It took 8 months to write. It would have taken 6 but when it came time to write that last chapter, I just couldn’t do it.

Freedom’s Treasure was my second novel. I moved to a different state in the middle of the writing of it and used that as my reason when I felt like I had lost interest. Go figure, it was during the last two chapters that I had a problem.

At Wit’s End is my latest and is the book that Booktrope will be releasing first. Same thing when I wrote it; when I hit the last couple of chapters I couldn’t bear to look at it for a while.

Now I know, thanks to the overabundance of time on my hands. It’s fear, straight up fear.

But what am I afraid of? People have already seen my words and the reviews I received were great. Even if they weren’t great, well, whatever, that means my book wasn’t their cup of tea and I moved on.

When I’m in public I’ll dance around and sing and, in general, draw attention to myself though it’s not intentional. I tend to have a song in my head at all times and sometimes the grocery store plays good tunes so it happens. I’m not afraid to do that so why am I afraid to show people the stories in my head?

Hopefully, Readers, you just said the same thing I would say if someone came to me with this problem.

“You shouldn’t be.”

The messed up part, for me, is that every time I’ve put the words out there, good things have happened. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences. So why the fear?

It’s the human condition. Do you realize how many things we’re afraid of? We’re afraid we made the wrong choice, said the wrong thing, felt differently than everyone else about something. We’re afraid of illness, death, public speaking, clowns, kids, dogs, cats and the odd raindrop.

I’ve always heard the true test of a man (or woman, please don’t leap down my throat) is how they deal with the fear. Do they cower in the corner and hope it goes away? Or do they pull up their big girl panties (there, fixed the sexist thing) and get the damn job done?

I’m done cowering in the corner and waiting for the edit to finish itself and yet I’m writing a blog post instead of working on that chapter.


Big Girl Panties, prepare to be hoisted.

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