Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Friday, May 4, 2007


Yesterday, Ms. Brennan gave another wonderful post - The War of Art - which got me thinking. Even more, it got me introspecting. What is it I am afraid of (in relation to the business of writing)? I posted the following comment to the blog:

I think the worst fear I battle right now is the fear of rejection. (Which is silly considering how much rejection there is in this business.) Right now, I’m having a devil of a time sending out queries. I make up things to do instead of querying. I tell myself I’m too busy writing or editing to think about it. But when I do a little introspection, like I did just now, I know the truth is that I’m afraid the people I’m querying just won’t see how good my work is - not because it isn’t any good, but because of the whole myriad of things other than writing, like the agent is having a bad day. You know… Things outside my control.

But there's definitely more to it than that.

I don't think I have a fear of success - although if I were to succeed in this business, I don't quite know what I'd do. However, I'm pretty sure I have the same fear as Ms. Brennan - that this book won't be as good as the last. Heck, I still feel that my first book is the best book I have written so far, and I'm constantly trying to surpass, or at least match, that opus.

I also have a fear of failure. Not the failure of writing. I went through that already, and dealt with it. Nope. I have a fear that no matter how much I write, or how good it is, I will fail to sell. Yeah, yeah. I know I know. If it's so good, it has to sell. Right? Not necessarily. See the post on subjectivity below. It could be awesome, but any number of factors could come into play to keep it out of the publishing houses. Subjectivity scares the crap out of me. You can never predict it, you can never control it, and when you least expect it, it jumps out of the bushes, knocks you into the dirt and mauls you like a bear.

So many fears, it's damn near paralyzing. I know it's paralyzed my querying. Although I did get one out yesterday, and just before I hit SEND, I was teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Baby steps.

On the bright side, I'm not afraid of my writing abilities. I know my work is good. Beyond that, if you don't believe me, I've had other people tell me my work is good. (And not just my mother, who BTW has never read my work. She's waiting for the print editions - she doesn't have a computer and it's too hard to print everything and mail it.) Oh sure, I have days where I feel like a certain scene is crap, but I do some editing and tweaking and the feeling goes away. Doesn't everybody?

Now I have to shake away the fears and get some query packets out today. ONWARD!

What's freaking you out today?


Shannon said...

Hi, today I'm being freaked out by the power of procrastination...and how easy it is to get sucked into this computer. Oh well...I actually just wanted to stop by and say hi cuz you're the only other person I've met (not technically)who's favorite book is Atlas Shrugged. (Saw it on your comment on Nathan's blog) Did you hear they are doing an Atlas Shrugged movie starring Angelina Jolie? I'm not happy about that choice, I think Jodie Foster would have been better. What do you think?

B.E. Sanderson said...

Well, hi there! It's always nice to hear from fellow Atlas Shrugged lovers.

Brangelina (I heard their both thinking of financing it) doing a movie of AS is a travesty, but that's just me. I never thought about Jodie as Dagny but she's getting a little old, unless they just stick to the last part of the book.

Welcome again, and I hope you stop by often. I try to post every day, and hopefully it's interesting enough to other people. Otherwise it's just me talking to myself. (Which I have a tendency to do anyway.)

Anissa said...

I'm still freaking out at the fact that it's May. Already. Time scares me sometimes.

I need to check out the post you linked. Thanks!

Tia said...

I'm freaked out by a major turning point in my story. I know what my character must do, but I'm just not sure exactly what she must do next. I suppose a reread of the stuff I wrote over the last few days might help.

I've stopped submitting my other novel, at least while I am writing at such a breakneck pace. I'm not sure I will start again. I just think that the novel I am working on now has so much greater potential than the other novel. I'm very close to chalking it up to another learning novel, but I have people who want to read the second volume in the trilogy.

What to do, what to do?

Alex Adams said...

So many fears, so little space. My biggest fear is that my writing really stinks and I just don't know it. My other fear is imagining an agent/editor reading my work and laughing at my presumption that I can tell a story.

The list goes on :)

B.E. Sanderson said...


I've read your stuff, Alex, and let me tell you, your fears are unfounded. The only thing agents and editors would have to laugh about are the funny scenes - especially in FG.

The rest of you get :hugs: too. Those creeping little fears suck.