Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fear sets in

As soon as I discovered the joy of writing, I started to see myself achieving all these wonderful goals using the writing skills I'd recently uncovered. Most notably, I wanted to be a published author. I still want to be a published author. And I still intend to be a published author. But, wanting something and achieving something are two different things. You can want it all you want, but it doesn't just show up. You have to work toward it. You have to fight for it. You have to power through those days when you just want to give up. A goal worth achieving isn't a goal that just happens. It's a goal that you sweat over, fight over, and cry over because in the end, if you haven't really worked for what you want, than you're not going to recognize or appreciate the value of the dream.

I learned this lesson with my writing. Since my goal is to be a published author, I began researching everything I could about getting published. Oh my! What I learned was so intimidating it was tempting to just take the easy road and back out. Do my writing, write my novels, but not push the publishing thing. It sounded like a lot of scary stuff that I knew absolutely nothing about. Writing a synopsis. Querying an agent. Landing an agent. Making sure the agent wasn't scamming me. Not giving away the farm to a publisher by signing a contract that I don't understand. Those are all road blocks. Worse, everywhere you read everybody says the same thing. Your opening chapter has to be strong or else the agents and editors will never look past the first paragraph! Hook them with your opening line on the query! You have three hundred words to suck them in. Do it right! A synopsis can only be so long; sum your entire 250 page (or more) book into five pages! Write your author bio (I'm thinking, what author bio! I don't have one!!!), build yourself a platform! Don't get stuck in the slush pile!!!!!! And the worst... you know how many authors have tried and failed? Thousands.
Talk about a slap in the face. My reaction... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Have I just decided to jump into the one occupation on earth that is nearly impossible to get into? Again, AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Months into it, I'd bombarded myself with so much information I ended up gulping in fear and seriously rethinking my goals. Did I really want what I thought I wanted? And you know what, the answer was I don't know. I really, really don't know. I decided I'd keep going anyway. I knew I loved to write. I knew it made me happy. So, at the very least, I was going to write. I'd work for the other stuff when I came to it.
There were a few key factors that I took into consideration when I first faltered in my dream. First, my husband had become my cheering section. I'd told him what I wanted and he wanted to see me do it. This was both a good and a bad thing. It was good because I had his support. It was bad because my confidence in myself was so low, that I was afraid he'd see me as a failure if I never published anything. I realize now that he wouldn't, but at the time (three years ago), I couldn't see that. So I had this huge fear of failing... again... at something I'd tried (I'd tried to sell Mary Kay, and I'd taken some courses on medical transcription. I didn't do either of them well. Turns out, they weren't my passion). I couldn't stand to think that he saw me as a failure. So because of that I allowed the fear in, which seriously hindered me in my path. Fear is not a motivator; it kills motivation. And I had let it in. This was my own personal demon which I had to overcome. He had no part in it. He did his best to cheer me on, to build me up with visions of my own dreams. He did a great job. But that fear seriously slowed me down, though, in a strange way, it also kept me going. Fear is not a motivator, but I couldn't stop when my dream faltered because I couldn't stand to fail. So, it did keep me going, though probably not in the best way.
The second thing that kept me going was that I saw myself where I wanted to be. They say if you want something to see yourself there. To feel the emotions you'll experience when you get there. It'll cement the thing in your future and give you the drive to push for it. I had done this. It wasn't on purpose, it just happened. I could see myself (still can) achieving my dreams. I really could. So that helped keep me focused.
After a few months, when the fears began seeping in, I began to question what I really wanted. This would go on for a while.
But, it's all part of the process. I repeat: It's all part of the process!!!! Without the fears, how will you learn to overcome, how will you learn to appreciate what you have and gain, and how will you be strong enough to handle what you want when you get it?