For Catholics and a few other Christian denominations, the season of Lent is upon us. I wasn’t raised Catholic, but I can appreciate the sentiment. In years past, I’ve discussed what I’ve given up in my life for my writing.
This year? I’m going to do the same. But instead of talking about the external things, I’m going to talk about the internal things.
Giving Up My Fears
The fear of running out of ideas
When looking down the barrel at an empty page, I’ve felt the fear that I’m out of ideas. That I’ve finished telling all the stories that are inside of me. The ones I wrote were in me for so long, and anything new just doesn’t belong to me.
And then, I start to play around with some new world concept, or setting, or character. Then slowly, ever so slowly, a story starts to come to me from the shadows and I follow its path through the darkness and onto the page.
The fear of not finishing the story
Once I’ve committed to my new story, there’s always, there’s this lingering feeling that I don’t have it in me anymore. That I might have forgotten how to do this whole writing thing.
That I don’t know where I’m going with my story.
But, all first drafts stink. No matter how many times I have to rewrite it, that doesn’t stop my first, crappy ending from counting as a true ending.
The fear of not finding the right voice
I’ve got a story sitting in my drafts folder, that I haven’t touched since November of 2017. It has two different voices and neither of them are right for the story.
The story needs something else, and I’ve been scared to go back and rewrite it, the way it was meant to be told. I’ve been distracted with other stories — it’s true — but I know I’ve been avoiding it, too.
I started that story once before, though. And I liked that voice. I just need to rewrite the full draft in the voice of that false start.
The fear that my plotting is weak
I like my world building. It’s not like I’m a writer who plots out the world and creates a story to explore it, but I enjoy the ‘what if’ exercise, and following each choose to its repercussions.
I like my characters, especially my main characters. (My secondary and background characters aren’t quite two dimensional, but could use more umph.) And the choices of the main characters are what lead the plot.
But, I fear my logic is missing something obvious. Or that I’m following the most logical path for my characters, because it’s the path of least resistance.
My beta-readers, critique-partners, and mentor have challenged me, though. And I have reasons and logic behind most of their questions. For the rest?
I know how to fix them — by making things about my world more clear, so they don’t surprise the reader — not by changing them.
The fear that my story isn’t enough for agents or publishers. Or readers.
I’ve queried. A lot.
Not hundreds, but several dozen times.
I’m pretty happy with my query letter, but I haven’t gotten a lot of non-form rejections. Maybe my market is just too saturated and my story isn’t unique enough.
Maybe my potential readers think it sounds pleasant, but just doesn’t have that special something that makes them want to bring it home with them.
Then, I remind myself, that there are tons of agents out there, and one of them is bound to want my story. And if I can’t find them? I can indie publish and seek my own audience.
No matter the size of the audience, I’m going to have readers who love my story. I already do, just from my author-friends who’ve read my work. And they mean the world to me. (You know who you are <3)
What sort of negativity has infiltrated your life?
What are your fears that you’re ready to give up and face?