Thursday, October 12, 2006
Can You Handle It?
When I started to think about why I was reluctant to finish my novel, one thought struck me in particular. If I finish this novel and if it sells, my whole world will change. No longer will I be an "unpubbed" author - I will be a published author. And that is an entirely different world than an "unpubbed."
There are similarities, of course. You still have to write the book. You still suffer angst and doubt and tear your hair out when the words refuse to appear. But when you're published, you suddenly have an editor and a deadline, your name is going to be out there, and marketing and publicity will suddenly become a big part of your life.
Does the fear of success keep me from reaching my potential?
Maybe. But then again...I've finished one book and had it requested for partials and fulls by a number of agents. The fact that they all ultimately rejected it doesn't bother me too much because hey, it's my first novel and I can still see lots of things wrong with it.
I'm inclined to think that the fear of success isn't what's holding me back when I write...but rather the fear that I can't continue to write well enough to satisfy myself and my future potential readers. Does that make sense?
There's a certain pressure to writing, the pressure to always be better than the last book. And when you're a published writer and it's your career, that's quite a lot of pressure. The question is, can I handle it?
If you're a published author, how do you handle that pressure? If you're unpubbed, do you feel the pressure to outdo yourself? Does it cause you to look at your words with a cynical eye?
Here's how I've decided to handle my dilemma. I just write. I poured out 1200 words the night that I didn't think I could write even one. That little nagging voice of "this isn't good enough" kept chiming in, but I squelched it and kept on going. Are those words the greatest to ever come out of my brain? Not a chance. Are they useable? You bet.
Bottom line is that as writers, we all have pressures of a different sort that are strictly to do with our writing - not the pressures of outside life because we all have those, too. And those writing pressures affect us on a daily basis. How we choose to deal with the pressure is perhaps what determines whether we are a success or not.
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