We have a very tall Christmas tree in my house. This is my son and husband a couple of years ago putting decorations on the tree. I have a fear of heights, so they usually do it. However, this year my husband threw his back out bringing the Christmas decorations down from the attic. My son wasn't available to help, so it was up to my daughter, Tricia, and me. Yes, I was scared, but I was determined to meet this fear so up the ladder I went. Took us a full day because we kept running out of tree lights. Is there ever enough? But when all was said and done the tree looked gorgeous.
Facing my fear of heights reminded me that sometimes as writers we need to face whatever fears stop us from sending our books to agents or publishers. Some of those fears could be that you're afraid of rejection, afraid of criticism, or afraid of sending your baby out into the big, cruel, business world of publication.
Afraid of rejection . . .
Rejection stings and bites and hurts like the dickens, but if you don't risk rejection you'll never succeed.Now I have heard stories of writers who have never been rejected, but those are so few and far between. Most of us have to earn our stripes and face rejection, because most likely rejection will come. It's what you do with it that makes the difference. Learn from it. If you are fortunate to have an editor tell you why he/she is rejecting your book, feel honored and truly think about what they say is wrong with your work. Then go in and fix the problems and send it out again. Don't sit around waiting for the rejection either. Get busy with your next book because with every novel you write you are learning more and more about your craft.
Afraid of criticism . . .
This is closely related to rejection because if you're lucky your rejection letter may have critique comments. Again this is a good sign. Remember the saying that criticism is a form of flattery and when it comes to writing it really can be. If you never receive criticism on your work, how can you grow? If you only hear good things about your writing yet you're not selling, how will you ever improve? I think you see where I'm going with this. Another saying that is very true, good critiquing will make your story strong. Your job is to recognize the good critiquing from the bad. Questions to ask yourself as you contemplate a critique, does this move my story forward? Does it make the story clear? Will this take away from the story I want to tell? In the end, it is your story, just make certain you're not throwing away good advice.
Sending your baby out into the publishing world . . .
This is very scary because all at once you're getting serious about this writing thing. People are going to ask if you've heard anything. Also rejection and criticism might follow. But here's the deal, if you want to see your dream come true you're going to have to send your baby out there and see if it will fly. But you can do it. Just realize it's all right if your work isn't perfect. It's all right to receive rejections. And it's normal to receive criticism. Go ahead and send your novel out into the publishing world. You never know if you can succeed until you try.
So climb that ladder to success, string the lights that will make your novel beautiful, and then step back and admire the work you've created.
Okay, your turn. What helps you face the fear of sending your story out into the publishing world?