Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fear of Change

The title of this post is broad, so I'll narrow down the focus. Writers at every stage in their career deal with change. I think every new change will fill some writers with terror due to their inherent personality, while the same changes will be easily shrugged off by people with a different temperament.

One thing I understand about myself is that I am who I am. I don't fight my feelings, but neither do I let them overpower me. It's okay to feel fear; it's not okay to let it stop you from living the fullest life of your dreams.

Writers who are just starting out may fear how their life will change. How will I fit writing into an already tight schedule? How will my friends or family adjust to my new commitment? And what if my book is an instant success--how will I deal with the changes that will bring to my life?

Writers who have already tackled those fears may face other scary monsters. What if this book gets rejected? What if I can't finish the next book? What if I run out of ideas? I've told a lot of people that I'm trying to get published; what if they all begin to think I'm a loser? What if the rejections keep coming? Will I have to decide if I want to continue writing? Maybe I was wrong--maybe I'm not really a writer?

Writers who've gotten "the call" and who've published a book or two may find themselves with a whole new set of fears. What if I was a one hit wonder? What if I sell my next book, but I get less sales? Will my editor still want me? What if my agent hates the proposals I come up with? Can I match my earlier success? What if I can't squeeze in the line-edits my editor needs in two days? How will I ever get all the promotional work done for my last book and still write my new book?

Writers who have been multi-published may have a different level of fears. Have I already written this premise before? What if my writing is getting stale? What if I run out of ideas? What if my editor decides she wants newer, younger, fresher writers? The enthusiasm and energy I had five years ago is wearing thin--how do I cut back on the number of books I put out without alienating my readers? Without my editor dropping me? When am I going to have time to enjoy my success?

There's a common illusion among unpublished writers who are trying to get published that once they get "the call" and their books are on shelves, their problems disappear. Fear? No way! What could they possibly be afraid of after their dream comes true?

Maybe some of the fears and problems will disappear, but new ones take their place. That's why it's vital to come up with strategies to deal with them. Fears will change, but we can use the same strategies to knock them down. Next week we'll look at ways to say "adios" to our fears.

Join me on Friday and...

Write Already! It's Wednesday!


  1. Hi Jill,
    Very well put! You summarized the different fears at all of the levels in a thorough way! It's kind of scary to think that we'll always struggle with each level of the writing journey. Just because we get published doesn't mean we'll never have fears and problems! In fact, I'm sure the issues only get bigger!

    I'll look forward to your posts next week on how to deal with our fears!

  2. Thank you Jody. I'm sure there are many more fears that I didn't address. Or maybe I'm just more neurotic than other writers?

    Yeah, I didn't think so!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Since I am still on the beginning leg of my writing journey, I try not to look too far down the road and "freeze up" with fear. There is so much to learn, it can be mind boggling.

    I work in a school setting and we all had to take a "Strengths" Test. One of my top 5 strengths was Adaptablility. The ability to go with the flow and adapt to change. That made me feel good, because life is always changing and if I couldn't deal with it, then I would be a sorry mess! ;) Change is growing, and growing means I am getting smarter. (tell me I am getting smarter, pleeaassee!)

  4. Hi Sherrinda,

    Adaptability--that's got to be a huge blessing! We've moved, oh, about 12 or 13 times, and almost every time I dug my fingernails in, desperately trying to keep my hold on the familiar. But the last two moves were different. It finally hit me that God will put me where I'm supposed to be. I can deal with it or dissolve into a puddle of goo.

    And hello? Of course you're smart! You're a writer! It goes with the territory.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. This is SO true!!!! I've experienced quite a few of those stairstep fears myself !!!

  6. Hi Betsy Ann,

    Congrats on your new Steeple Hill relationship--I'm really looking forward to reading your books!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. well said, jill! i'm going to add a link to you on my page of other writers "in progress." :) thanks for stopping by!

  8. Right back at you, Jeannie! Thanks!


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