Last week, I read this post by author Nova Ren Suma. She talks about the fear she has about deciding what story to write next.
I think part of this is fear, of course. Fear of not having a new book under contract and worrying what will happen when I try.
I can feel the pressure she is putting on herself to find a story that she feels passionate to write and one that she thinks people will love to read.
After reading this post, I wrote this on Twitter: Just read a blog post by an author with 3 published books, terrified about deciding what to write next. Do we ever stop feeling the fear?
Instantly, three authors responded with variations of “No” and “Never”. Huh. I stared at my screen in horror. I have been full of writer fear and self-doubt for months but I had hoped that this would fade once my writing journey got started. Once I had an agent and book deal. But it seems that there is fear to be found at every step of the journey – fear your book won’t sell to a publisher, fear that it won’t sell to the public, fear of what to wrote next etc. Laura Lam noted on Twitter that JK Rowling must have felt fear releasing her first non-Harry Potter book, even though she’s already sold millions of books.
What is it then about writing that breeds so much fear? Is it that writers are following what they are passionate about, their dreams and when your dream is on the line, you can’t help but worry about it falling apart? Or is it that writers are creative people that tend to be more sensitive about things? Or is it that writing is often a solitary career and when you’re alone in something, it’s easier to be gripped by self-doubt? It’s probably a combination of all three, of course.
I’m sure that as you grow more successful the fear becomes easier to deal with and that there is much to enjoy along the way to dissipate it. I can only imagine the feeling of signing your first book deal or seeing your book on the bestseller list. And I think that’s why writers keep going, why we put ourselves through all the fear and anxiety and self-doubt – we want those joys. We want our dream to come true.
And as a wise person once said:
How do you deal with fear?