Monday, July 02, 2007

You Have Nothing to Fear But That Big Hairy Spider Crawling Up the Back of Your Neck

The Top Ten Fears of Unpublished Writers:

10. What if my book doesn't sell?

9. What if the stores won't stock my book on their shelves?

8. What if no one will publish me?

7. What if no one likes what I've written?

6. What if I can't get this ending/plot/scene right?

5. What if I used lay when it should have been lie?

4. What if the computer crashes and erases all my work?

3. What if I can't write more than 40,000 words?

2. What if this is the stupidest story ever known to man?

1. What if I'm not really a writer?


I'd wager these fears sound familiar, if you're an aspiring author. You might have put them in different order, and perhaps have thrown in some things like "finding time to write," etc, but by and large, I think every new writer has these fears.

Now, let's look at the other side of the coin.

The Top Ten Fears of Published Writers:

10. What if my book doesn't sell?

9. What if the stores won't stock my book on their shelves?

8. What if no one will publish me?

7. What if no one likes what I've written?

6. What if I can't get this ending/plot/scene right?

5. What if I used lay when it should have been lie?

4. What if the computer crashes and erases all my work?

3. What if I can't write more than 40,000 words?

2. What if this is the stupidest story ever known to man?

1. What if I'm not really a writer?


Notice anything? Yep -- the published author has pretty much the same fears as the unpublished author. If you're published, you may feel a little more confident over the whole lay/lie thing (I don't) and you may feel that you've got a better handle on your scene structures, but deep down, we're all the same. We all want people to like us, we all worry that our readers won't like this new book as much as they did the last, and we wonder if our publisher will or will not accept our latest submission. A published author feels nervous while waiting for that acceptance/rejection letter, and it makes our day when we hear that someone liked our book.

I'm not telling you this to depress you -- I'm telling you this so I can lead up to one simple, fundamental truth: getting published is not like waving a magic wand that will make all your problems go away and all your dreams come true. It will not make you more attractive, it will not make you an instant public speaker, and it will not ensure popularity. It will not boost your confidence. It will not make you a fabulous promoter.

You must work on all these things yourself.

You make yourself a better speaker. You make yourself good at promotion. You build your own confidence. And there is no reason on this great green earth why you should wait until you're published to start working on these attributes.

6 comments:

Annette Lyon said...

Too true. You'd think that being published would wipe out all those insecurities, but in some ways, they get magnified. Not that there aren't a lot of perks about publishing, too, but yeah--it's easy to think that everything will be perfect if only I can get one book published . . .

Stephanie said...

Point #5 lay vs lie made me laugh. Someone mentioned this at the LDStorymakers conference this sporing and I have been much more aware of using it. Now if I could just figure out which is correct without having to look it up all the time.

Amber said...

Funny how there are insecurities on both sides of the fence. So I guess we can all say we've been there, done that!

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen said...

Tristi, I attended your class on voice at the last conference, and after reading this blog I realized something. You have developed the abiltiy to influence for good. What a wonderful thing. Thanks for sharing.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Ronda,

What a sweet thing to say! Thank you!

Amber,

Thanks for stopping by! I love your blog.

Annette,

I don't know if you feel this too, but sometimes I think I may just be a two-hit wonder. Is there a way to wipe that out, do you think?

Stephanie,

If you ever want to know more about lay and lie, Annette (above) is your woman -- I can't get the rule to save my life so I e-mail her frequently. :)

John Ferguson said...

I loved #2 it made me laugh. When I read this one it made me think of the scene in Holes (the movie version) where Mr. Sir is telling the boys a story. "You girl scouts want to hear a story. Once apon a time there was a magical place that never rained... The end."

JOHNF

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...