The Fear of an Aspiring Author

For several weeks, I nursed the ideas of a certain story.  Considering traits of my heroine.  Aspects of the story.  And finally, it all came together as the potential for a solid piece.  In my excitement of the birth of this brain child, I divulged some of the details of the plot line and characters to help hash out the details in the infrastructure of the soon to be trilogy.  I then set out on the daunting task of the back story in my first ever short story (to be released in mid June).

I went to see a friend the other night who is one of few who is privy to details about the novel which I am intending to write.  She has read aspects of the short story and understands basics of how it’s going to play into the full novel later.  When we were chatting, she asked if I was still intending to write the novels, citing that she thought I had a really interesting story to tell.  She was eager to see how it all plays out.

That got me thinking today.  I’ve really been procrastinating when it comes to actually putting my thoughts down on the proverbial paper.  My story is safe in my mind.  Free from criticism.  Free to be.  I feel inadequate to write it down, feeling that it holds so much depth and promise.  What if I don’t have what it takes to tell the story with the rich detail it deserves?  In a way, I feel a responsibility to my characters and the whole world of Cherished.  A responsibility not to fail.  I’m undeserving of the role I have assumed as their creator.  Undeserving and incompetent.

But, in reality, if I don’t tell the story, who will?

As I was sitting here today, considering those first, hardest words, I realized that my tight clutch and fear are really, actually, very selfish of me.  Do I mean to say that I think Cherished is going to be the next Harry Potter?  Do I expect any true monetary success from my writing?  Not really.  Allow me a moment to explain my claim.

Even if I do prove incompetent to tell the story that’s been haunting my waking hours, at least it’s still told.  Edits, re-edits, and beta-readers can help me shape it into the story that I envision it to be.  But if the story is never told, then it’s never given a chance.  It’s never given a chance to be enjoyed by another reader.  Never given a chance to develop.

I am realistic in my expectations of Cherished’s final development.  I understand that I probably won’t be the next Amanda Hawking or Stephanie Meyers.  But as an aspiring author, my hope is that just one person read my story and truly enjoy it.  I mean, one person curls up on the couch; kindle in hand, wrapped in a warm blanket and just gets lost in the world.  And truth be told, that ideal reader, that one person that I so long to please, is myself!

How self-righteous, right?  But seriously, how can I fail at telling a story when my goal is to write a story that I, myself, would enjoy?  If other’s read Cherished and find joy, that’s an added bonus, and one that I hope may become true.  But not my goal.  So my selfishness in holding onto my story, never letting it take shape and life, afraid that it may not meet critic’s standards.  That selfishness, is nothing more than excuse.  An excuse not to try.  And an excuse behind which I will no longer hide.  I have spent too many hours making excuses rather than find reasons to write.  That ends!

The only way I can fail Cherished is to not write it.  And that’s not an option!

Published in: on 06.11.2011 at 5:48 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I loved everything about this post. The final bit was the best. “The only way I can fail Cherished is to not write it. And that’s not an option!” If you write Cherished as well as you wrote that post, then you should be fine.

    I have written 3 novels and I didn’t do any of the planning or worrying you have done. I just started to write, not knowing anything but who the main character was, or in the case of the sequels, who the returning characters were. I usually get several chapters in before I have an idea of what the crime would be, or who the bad guys are, and why. I just write 1000 words every day, put them up on my blog and move on.

    There are mistakes and I do try to avoid them, but in the end, I find them later. Today I found 30 in my novel, which is in the proof stage. This is after my edits, my editor’s finds, the errors uncovered by beta readers and there are still 30. Who knows, there may be 30 or 40 more? I will keep looking.

    The point is that you are right…you must write!

    • You are so right! I must just write. You’re encouraging words and support are much appreciated. My perfectionism often keeps me from trying things in which mistakes seem inevitable. I must keep in mind that mistakes are a part of writing. They will be made. They will be found. They will be fixed. Thanks for sharing your experiences as a means of encouragement!

  2. Writing is a courageous endeavor. Be bold. Think outside the box and create. I have my own issues but have put myself a plan in place. With tenacity, we’ll get there.

    • Thank you for the encouraging words. I find when I voice my my fears, they become less of monster holding me back. The thinking outside the box is the easiest part, it’s the creating that seems so daunting. But it will no longer hold me back.

  3. You are a magnificent writer and shouldn’t fear the project before you. A mind so creative as to generate entire books of plot, has also the capacity to bring them forth through the literary format. It’s only a shift of mindset from the imaginative creation to the structured process of providing your creation to others. You think things, not words, which is wonderful, so it’s intimidating to see how developed the Cherished plot is, yet without the bulk of the sentences written. Merely the next step lies before you. Can’t wait to see what the whole thing is when you’ve got Book 1 complete! Keep writing!

    • Thank you for your encouragement J.T. Your passion for writing and love of the art makes me so excited to be a part of the literary world!

  4. Everything the folks above have posted is so true. Stay focused and dedicated and you’ll no doubt have a strong and outstanding story. You will do wonderful.

  5. Each step of the creative process has it’s challenges. I find it difficult to follow an outline and tend to write by the seat of my pants. Any process that gets the job done is valid, but I’m trying to be more efficient. One thing that’s helped me is Randy Ingermanson’s (not sure about the spelling) book, “Writing Fiction for Dummies.”

    Of course we should do our best and strive to improve our craft, but the most important part of any story is the actual story. You obviously care about yours and I’m sure it will be wonderful. I can’t wait to read it.

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