Most of us have to confront similar fears when writing a novel or a book, whether we intend to publish it or not.
“What if no one likes my story? Or what if they say they do only to spare my feelings?”
“What if I publish it, and I get all kinds of negative reviews, saying things like, ‘Ugh! What a waste of money and the time I spent reading this drivel!’ or ‘I now consider myself duly warned about this author. I hope I can at least spare the readers of this comment the agony I suffered by reading this book.’ ”
“What if someone I know recognizes a character in my story and, thinking I was consciously or unconsciously creating a character based on him, gets angry with me, and no matter what I say, he won’t believe that I didn’t have him in mind when I created that character — who, by the way, turns out to be an arrogant, self-serving prick?”
Some of those fears come to mind even before we’ve finished the story or book.
“What if I finish this, and it’s crap, no matter what I do to try and fix it? What if it’s never good enough to publish? What if I ask a friend to read it, and he either rips it apart or damns it with faint praise? Won’t that just confirm what so many people already think of me — that I’m a no-talent loser with delusions of being the next Amazon #1 best-seller?
Or the next darling of the literary fiction world. Whatever.”
And suddenly the very idea of finishing the book or novel becomes the thing that threatens to drag you further down into the slough of despond.
Or the bog of eternal stench (Labyrinth fans?) Or something equally depressing.
But there’s something about finishing a book or a story that defies every bog, slough, and Pinterest binge.
“I wrote a book (or novel). A whole freaking book (or . . . yeah)! I am AWESOME!”
Don’t deny it. You’ve done what millions of people have said they want to do “some day.”
How many published authors out there have had to confront and triumph over paralyzing anxiety in order to get to the finish line? It’s different for every one.
All writers (published or otherwise) have a certain degree of anxiety when tackling a new project. Some have more than others. We all have our hurdles to jump.
Writing a book or novel from start to finish is not a cake walk. But there should be cake. A whole freaking cake. Or a pie. And a glass of wine. Or a really good beer. You’ve earned it.
Or, okay, if you’d rather have something healthy, just . . . don’t eat it in front of me, okay?