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Monday, March 7, 2011


Ah, fear. How useful it seems when some creep starts following you in the dark on a lonely street. Or when there’s a mouse in the house.

But at other times? It’s kind of in the way.

I’ve talked before about how fear stunted my growth as a writer. For years I was one of those people who said, “I’m going to write a book one day” and then never did.

Fear of failure. Fear of messing up. Fear of looking like a total goon in the process.

Now that I’m revising, I realize the fear has gotten worse. Fear that I can’t make this novel be what I need it to be. That it’ll never be as good as it is in my mind. That my characters and plot are boring, that together I have something akin to Walden.*

It’s stalled me. I’ll open the document and decide I can’t disembowel this manuscript in ten minutes or thirty minutes or an hour. And then I close it.

I had a breakthrough this weekend. Nothing huge, just a fix for a scene that added tension. But it reminded me that I should spend less time fearing and more time actually writing.

For anyone in that stage, there’s only one thing you can do—if you plan to get published, that is.

Tell fear to piss off.

Then write your book.

Tell fear to piss off.

Then edit it. Again.

Tell fear to piss off.


Lather, rinse, repeat.

*I'm not ashamed to say I hate Walden.  

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