Sunday, July 8, 2012

It Doesn't Take a Floodlight

Imagine lighting one small birthday candle to ferret out the fears you don't even know exist, except as a constant exception to your own rules of creativity. That small flicker is how many of us perceive the ability to look into the corners of this attic we call a brain and confront the writing terrors that hold us back. These may include:

1. Too little attention.
2. Too much attention.
3. Not creative enough.
4. Too creative for anyone else to understand.
5. Rejection based on valid concerns.
6. Rejection based on invalid concerns.

You get the idea...sometimes a writer is so busy fearing all the possible outcomes that she or he can miss an opportunity to write without caring about the end product.

Instead, take a few minutes to write out those fears, along with the most far-fetched ways you would handle  a rejection, too little or too much attention or being misunderstood. Outside school and work, our writing efforts don't get graded except by our harshest critic -- ourselves. (Granted, some people can't or don't do this to anything they create.)

No writer can control how a book will be received, despite all the advice on how to critic-proof a query letter and sample. You just have to trust that after all the time spent writing and rewriting, you have done your very best and let that baby go. Move on to the sequel, or a different genre, if you feel the spirit. After all, fear is what you make of it in terms of horror.

(I'm going to go off rail for a minute, but still talk about a fear that legitimately stalls many freelance writers. In November, I will no longer have health insurance and had to look for an alternative that makes sense economically and mental health-wise. My solution is to return to the university and put into an education what I am now paying each month for COBRA insurance.)

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