Fear: The Uninvited Guest

photo by lucarossato
photo by lucarossato

This is the fourth Writer Unboxed post I have started in as many days. I now have all these partial posts, each of at least 800 words, sitting on my desktop and determinedly not being the post I need them to be.

That seems to be happening to me a lot lately. If you follow me on Twitter or FB, you probably heard my cyber-bellow of frustration and gnashing of teeth when I had to cut 7,000 words from my manuscript. The manuscript that is due in less than two months and is only partially baked—and that’s being kind.

What you did not hear was my silent primal scream that lasted two whole days when I woke up to the fact that I was writing the wrong damn book and had to delete the FIRST TWO HUNDRED PAGES OF THE MANUSCRIPT.

(Have I mentioned it’s due in less than two months?)

So it comes as no surprise really, that I keep making false starts with my WU post. It’s the mode I appear to be stuck in.

I even know why. It’s Fear. Not only is fear the great mind killer  (thank you Frank Herbert!) it is the great word killer, and creativity killer, and all-sorts-of-things killer.

I keep asking myself how I, a seasoned writer with fifteen books under my belt, could have taken such a wrong turn, how I could have gotten so utterly sidelined. And again, the answer is Fear.

My first clue was the painful slogging part. Yes, writing can be difficult—like figuring out an especially tricky puzzle can be difficult. But this time it was if I had to hike 100 miles to a distant quarry, dig each word out of the rock with my bare hands, then cart it back over the 100 miles (of rugged terrain, mind you) and wedge/hoist it into the manuscript. And sure, there are stretches of writing in each book that feel like that—but never, for me, the entire process.

My second clue should have been that nothing felt organic to the characters or their situations. That wonderful, alchemical process of turning ideas into living, breathing characters on the page simply wasn’t happening. It was a series of constant, conscious decisions as opposed to ever finally beginning to flow out of the characters themselves.

It’s easy (and oh-so-satisfying) to gash my teeth and rail at the writing gods, wondering why this had to happen. And why it had to happen NOW—with this deadline bearing down on me like a freight train. But of course, neither the timing nor the why of it is a coincidence.

Fear sauntered into the room, made itself comfortable, and refused to budge.

So of course I stumbled. How could I write fearlessly and authentically with that great, unwelcome guest soaking up all the creative oxygen in the room?

My fears were the same garden variety that all writers have—fear that the book wouldn’t be good enough. Fear that I wouldn’t do the story justice. Fear that it wouldn’t live up to the expectations set by book two, which was in itself hugely different from book one. Even worse, I had always known that book three was going to be my most ambitious book—what I wanted to do within the story was risky, maybe even riskier than what I did in book two. And suddenly, my own creative ambition terrified me.

Even worse than that? I didn’t have time to write a big, ambitious book, dammit, I was on deadline! Once again I was writing the impossible book on the impossible deadline, only this time my muse just said, “Feck it,” and left the room, and into that vacuum waltzed Fear.

(Gad, do you see how pervasive and corrosive it is? Once you let it in the room it multiplies like COCKROACHES. Or ants. Or kudzu. Until it is utterly unmanageable.)

Also? Because I was working so hard to bring tension and drama to the page, I found not only was I writing the wrong story, but it wasn’t even my story to tell. The themes and issues weren’t ones that sprang from some genuine place inside me but were things I was creating in order to force the story.

Not only that, but sometimes the subtle, more nuanced ways of building drama and tension take longer and are more challenging than more overt forms of drama, and without realizing it, I was trying to take shortcuts.

Now some would say the professional thing to do would have been to just keep slogging along, meet the deadline, and leave it up to my editor as to whether or not it was going to work. But to me, that felt like cheating or fraud because I knew the manuscript wasn’t what it should be—what it needed to be.

So I took a deep breath, and maybe a shot or two of whiskey, then called my editor and let her in on the news. Because she is The Best Editor Ever, she immediately extended the deadline by a few weeks and focused on the fact that I was on the right track now and that was what was important. And of course, she is not only a saint, but she is RIGHT. (No, you can’t have her, she’s MINE.)

It is hard not to think of each of those wrong words as having booted the right one out of its place in the manuscript. But really, it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes we have to write the wrong ones to recognize that they are wrong.

Sometimes it is only the wrong turn that will get us back to the right path.

Sometimes we simply have to kiss a lot of toads before we find our prince.

Sometimes the choices we realize we don’t want to make are the surest way to begin recognizing the choice we do want to make.

How do I know I’m on the right track now? Because it’s working. It’s pretty much that simple. The turning points are appearing, right where they should be. The character’s growth arc now makes me shiver with anticipation rather than dread. There are lots of cool things I cannot wait to do in the story—things that weren’t there before.

So now I have a little more time, a clearer compass reading, and a true north to steer by. However, I must be truthful and tell you that Fear has still not left the room.

I wish I could offer all of you—offer myself—a cure for fear. Perhaps a lovely little ritual involving candles and incense and chanting fear-be-gone three times. Or a sweeping of the room with willow branches. But that is not the answer.

I’m afraid that the only way to deal with fear is to just buck it up and do what you need to do anyway—even with fear clinging to your back like a demented monkey.

Which once again brings us to the transformational aspects of writing—of any sort of creativity. In the process of creating something, we not only make art, but we transform ourselves as well. Either through the stories themselves or the struggle to get them down on paper, something in the process forces us to deal with and rise above certain issues and hurdles we might not otherwise face, let alone conquer.

Writing this book still terrifies me. Just like writing this post kind of terrifies me because it is leaving a cyber-trail for anyone who later dislikes the book to follow. They can come back to this post and say Ah, see? She did screw up royally. She even knew she was going to screw up.

But I’m going to write the book I meant to write—the book I need to write. And yeah, I might screw up. But I also know that if I wrote the book I wasn’t meant to write, I’d most assuredly be screwing up even more.

Do I feel like I’m letting my publisher down, missing that deadline? You bet.

Do I feel like some of my readers will be disappointed by the 18 month wait between books instead of merely 12 months? Of course.

Do I need to do this anyway? Absolutely. Because the most important thing I owe to my publisher and my readers is my best effort, and fear will get in the way of that Every. Single. Time.

And so today, I am like a little kid who is shouting into the dark that there is no such thing as monsters under my bed, in the hopes that it will be true. As part of my ongoing struggle with Fear, I’m throwing the doors and windows open wide to let the light pierce the dank, musty corners where Fear resides.

I’m hoping that by confessing to Fear, by naming it and calling it out, it will reduce some of the power that it holds over me—that it holds over us all.

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About Robin LaFevers

Robin LaFevers is the author of fourteen books for young readers, including the Theodosia and Nathaniel Fludd series. Her most recent book, GRAVE MERCY, is a young adult romance about assassin nuns in medieval France. A lifelong introvert, she currently lives on a blissfully quiet hill in Southern California.

Comments

  1. says

    Yes. Just yes to all of it. As a reader (and a reader of yours), I’d much prefer a longer wait than a book that you know isn’t right. But also yes to shining a big ol’ spotlight on fear. In my experience, fear confessed has way less power than fear that’s allowed private rein to twist my mind in ever tightening spirals. And yes to moving ahead with fear still hanging on — something I’ve only started doing in the last few years. And yes for the wrong way being necessary sometimes. Thank you for your wisdom and your openness with us.

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    • says

      Thank you for your readerly reassurance, Natalie! They are greatly appreciated.

      It can be surprisingly difficult to take that first step while wadded up with fear, but that first step does prove we don’t have to be immobilized by it.

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  2. says

    Dont fear having written this post. We all needed to read it. Fear is the Arch Enemy for writers, in my opinion. And it’s always present, except in those white heat moments when we forget ourselves and are carried along in the story’s molten torrent.

    Blessings on your editor. She must love your work.

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  3. says

    I guess you can say you’re struggling with fear. I would say you’re feeling fear. When I’m struggling with fear I poop my pants.
    When Robin LAFEVERS encounters fear she exposes herself to the masses and takes everyone to the school of Dealing-With-Your-Feelings.

    “EMBRACE THE NAKED” *ECHOE*

    Now this is exactly what I’m talking about Sarah Callender. Professionals sharing their writing experience. It’s absolutely fantastic and inspiring.

    Okay class let’s open our books today to chapter 7, The Lafever Fear

    (It sounds better without the ‘s’ Robin, so I dropped it for the chapter title thingy.)

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    • says

      That’s so funny, Brian, because I went back and read my own EMBRACE THE NAKED post for this very reason!

      And of course you can take literary liberties with awkwardly placed s’s–you’re a writer, for heaven’s sake! :-)

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      • says

        I will be reading that post for years to come. I will read to my children and my children’s children. I will spray paint it on buildings (and sign it, compliments of Teri Walsh). I will shout it across America “Embrace the Naked.” It will probably be taken out of context though.

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  4. says

    Lovely. The profound power of honesty and truth. Thank you Robin! Curious to read this book now. Hope you’ll tell us when it’s published.

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  5. says

    What a wonderfully refreshingly honest and HELPFUL post! We all get frightened, and knowing that authors we admire also feel that way takes away some of the pressure.

    It took a lot of courage to be true the work. We will wait. It will be worth it.

    And you’ve probably seen this but this is Elizabeth Gilbert on the challenge she faced after writing Eat Pray Love. It’s touching and funny. http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

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  6. says

    Robyn, I’m so glad you found your way through the fear to the truth of your story.

    Bless you for your honesty and courage in sharing this, it’s something we all need to hear.

    Expectation seems to be the thing that opens the door to fear and allow it to breed until it fills the room. I’m way way back behind you on the writing trail, but I’ve experienced this with my current story.

    For the first time, I have an actual editor request, after a pitch contest that permitted not only unfinished stories but stories that weren’t even started. Suddenly, writing stopped being fun. It stopped being a game the characters and I played, and hey, if I subbed it at the end and an editor didn’t like it, no big deal. The request ramped everything up a level. It was real and professional, and I had to start acting like a real and professional writer, dammit.

    Those expectations nearly killed the story. Instead of a fast joyful first draft, it was as much fun as toenail surgery without anesthesia. I’ve taken probably six times as long as I’d normally take, because it has to be good enough, it has to be perfect. It has to meet my guesses at what the editor expects.

    One moral of the story could be- never pitch a story that’s not written, and that’s a good one. But for me the real moral is- expect the fear. Whenever we ramp things up a level, no matter where we are in our writing careers, it will be there, with it’s dark brooding lessons for us.

    “And so today, I am like a little kid who is shouting into the dark that there is no such thing as monsters under my bed, in the hopes that it will be true. ”

    We’re all that little kid. Thank you for this post. It’s one I’ll be sharing.

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    • says

      Autumn,

      “Expectation seems to be the thing that opens the door to fear and allow it to breed until it fills the room.”

      YES. So much YES. Expectations can be just as stifling as fear.

      And your reminder to not pitch a work before it’s ready is very timely, with RWA Nationals coming up soon! That creates both expectations AND fear, a truly creatively lethal combo.

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  7. says

    Good for you facing the fear and doing the right thing. And you’re right, too, that deep down we know when it’s working and when it isn’t working. Last night I made the decision to scrap nearly 3 chapters from my WIP (nearly 9,000 words) because it was bogging down the middle.

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  8. says

    I love this – “But I also know that if I wrote the book I wasn’t meant to write, I’d most assuredly be screwing up even more.” So great! All writers need to write the book that’s in their heart.

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    • says

      It’s one of the things I’ve been thinking about lately, how we can screw up by passively accepting things as easily as we can by taking big actions that are obviously wrong…

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  9. says

    Great stuff, Robin! Well, the sharing your thoughts part, not the idea of big ole’ fear hangin’ around in various monkey weights and sizes. You inspire us with you openness and honesty. Have been sitting here with a pile of pages of a WIP in need of a-n-o-t-h-e-r serious edit. I know what I need to do but FEAR has so filled the space in my study it’s been hard to breathe. Well, ‘it’ just exhaled loudly and shuddered into a smaller glob, thanks to your post. Not like it’s going to disappear completely but at least it’s not hoggin’ all the oxygen for the moment.

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  10. says

    Robin-

    Fear is the compass needle pointing us in the direction we most need to go. We avoid what is hard to face, but what is hard to face is what, secretly, matters to us the most.

    In the experience you just described there is a healthy dose of fear of failing in your commitments: to your contract, to your editors, to your readers.

    But here’s the thing…as you discovered in your gem of an editor’s response, your readers will wait. When you give them great stories, indeed, they will wait a very long time.

    It was thirteen years between Catch-22 (1961) and Something Happened (1974). The world waited for Joseph Heller. It was eleven years between Silence of the Lamb (1988) and Hannibal (1999). The world waited for Thomas Harris.

    While it may not feel this way, you may have needed to swim in stagnant waters in order, finally, to dive into the strong current that now carries you effortlessly downstream.

    You may have needed to fail in order to face your fear and find out that it’s okay. With that catharsis behind you, you can now write with the joy that is the reward of writing with a true heart…and knowing that we, your readers, will be rewarded in the end too.

    We will wait. Thanks for facing your fear, Robin, and telling us about that today. I’m not surprised that this is the post that finished writing itself.

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    • says

      Oh Don, your entire comment is brilliant and a much needed reminder that I am going to print out and post by my writing space.

      But this part especially, rang true for me:

      “Fear is the compass needle pointing us in the direction we most need to go. We avoid what is hard to face, but what is hard to face is what, secretly, matters to us the most.”

      That is one of those life lessons I keep trying to run away from.

      I also love the reminder that swimming in the stagnant water (and can I just say, ew on the visual?) is necessary, even if unwelcome.

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      • says

        Robin-

        Yeah, and one never seems to have goggles handy when swimming in that stagnant water, either.

        Glad you’re swimming in the cool, clear stream now, though. Enjoy.

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  11. says

    I just want to thank you for your honesty, Robin! As a fan, I agree with Don–I will gladly wait for the *right* Robin LaFevers book three. Funny, must be something in the air this summer. I just wrote a post about how I was finally able to see that my fears can guide me to successful revision (thanks to Don’s awesome book, Writing 21st Century Fiction, with a little more help from my mentors). It’s anything but easy. Which makes me so grateful for you and this community. Best of luck! I’ll be waiting (patiently, honest).

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    • says

      You are too kind, Vaughn. And you know, I really like the idea that it might be something in the air rather than just ME. So thank you for that!

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  12. Carmel says

    Wow. I was crying inside for you when I read “two months.” Then cheering with relief when you got an extension. Then sad when you felt bad about taking it. Then so pleased when “best effort” became what mattered most.

    On top of that, Don’s compass comment. I am wow-ed by WU today.

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    • says

      Well there you go, Carmel, we’ve taken you through the entire human spectrum of emotions today.

      (And wasn’t Don’s comment brilliant?? I’m totally saving that.)

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  13. says

    This post made me cry. It touched so precisely on what I’m going through right now trying to find the story line in my second novel after the first one came easily. You are fourteen novels ahead of me (fifteen, published) and knowing that this can happen on number sixteen gave me hope that my current struggle might be just “one of those things.” It doesn’t necessarily mean I’m trying to paint frescoes with a blunt crayon. Thank you for helping me take one more step forward.

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  14. says

    Robin, thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I’ve been feeling alone with my own fear, wondering if I was ever going to make it through my second book. It wasn’t working, and like you, I was on a fast approaching deadline. I wanted to turn in the best draft I could, but instead, my process felt like I was throwing mud at the page to see what would stick. I was embarrassed by what I was writing and didn’t want my editor to see the mess I was in. I rewrote the beginning and trashed it 5 times, slogged through the middle, and raced to the end, but I was still struggling. Then I admitted defeat to my editor, I needed an extension. And I HATED asking for one, but the book needed it, I needed it. I finally turned in my draft last week, and while it still needs a lot of work, I finally feel like the pieces are almost in the right place, that I have something I can work with, that I can revise and go deeper with. I appreciate you sharing your story, it means to much to know that I’m not alone in my struggles, that fear can strike at any point and that I shouldn’t be afraid to admit I’m writing the ‘wrong story’.

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    • says

      You are so welcome, Heather!

      And you’re right-it’s one thing to turn in a book that still needs some work (and for which there is room in the production schedule to tackle) and a book that is just plain ol’ broken.

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  15. says

    Robin, thank you so much for writing this post. It’s important for writers to know they’re not alone when dealing with fear–especially the dense sort of fear you’ve described. I felt that same fear when working through my second book, and finishing despite it will always feel like a great accomplishment. (I know you don’t need my pom-poms, but I’m quite sure you will work through it as well. Go, you!)

    My guess is that this scenario is more common that writers realize, simply because people don’t like to talk about this stuff. It’s uncomfortably real–peeling the skin back to reveal to the world how much the process can make you bleed internally. But in the end, I think it makes us all feel more normal for hearing about it in others, which is its own rare brand of empowerment.

    Write on!

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    • Gretchen Stone says

      Therese, You identified my problem exactly. The easiest book to write is often the first. My first turned into two without any problem. But then I realized my writing was good but not quite good enough. and this was before I had heard of The Breakout Novel.

      The fear of knowing more and expecting more of myself has made book number three a mind-numbing checklist of things I must do, must include. Yi-yi-yi!

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  16. says

    I’m right there with you, girl! I’m at that point in both my YA and MG MSs right now. I’m at the middles. I can’t tell if I’ve gone in the right direction. And the only way I’ll know is by cranking the draft out and stepping back to assess. Will I have to re-write? Maybe. But I have to give myself a shot at writing the story before I can judge it. I hate the risk of wasting that time, but in the end, I will only find out by writing. So I’m going to try, just like you tried, and maybe I’ll get lucky and find out I ended up in the right spot–or maybe I’ll find out I have to toss 200pages! Either way, it’s FINDING OUT that matters. Good job, you. I will gladly wait longer for the right story.

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  17. says

    Thank you for sharing this, Robin. You know what they say, courage is not the absence of fear, but going on in spite of it.

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  18. says

    “In the process of creating something, we not only make art, but we transform ourselves as well.”

    Robin, may I quote you (with attribution) on my blog, as part of my Saturday Writing Quotes series? (www.LawandFiction.com/blog)

    And thank you for sharing this courageous — and transforming — post.

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  19. says

    Love the raw honesty of your post.

    “Sometimes we simply have to kiss a lot of toads before we find our prince.”

    Kissing one toad is hard enough — to keep at it? Yet you show us that it is in the keeping at it that we walk past the fear to a place of acceptance.

    Sometimes we simply have to give ourselves permission to be wrong. Or rather, simply give ourselves permission to be.
    Anjali

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  20. TR EDWARDS says

    I keep a note by my desk to remind me that fear, for whatever reason, is a universal concept:

    Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile… initially scared me to death. -BETTY BENDER

    (Even posting a comment, to me, is a giant leap into darkness.)

    But, beside the first note, I keep another recent addition, the twin sister to overcoming fear, a strategy for action:

    Today: Don’t doubt, Just Work. -Therese Walsh

    I don’t think I could ever thank WU enough for it’s wonderful insights and silent encouragement.

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    • says

      TR, whether that comment was your first here or not, it’s an awesome one! Love both quotes! I remember when posting comments here seemed like a scary leap in the dark. I soon found out I was leaping into safe and welcoming hands at WU. Happy Friday, and keep ’em coming!

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    • says

      “(Even posting a comment, to me, is a giant leap into darkness.)”

      As the lurker on many of the blogs I read regularly, I heartily agree with this. Thank you for leaving a comment on this one!

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  21. says

    Robyn…thank you for your article! I don’t always check my daily WU email but fate drove me to open it up today.
    I am currently wrestling with a manuscript that went to submission as a romance with a mystery but the editor has requested it be a mystery with a romance. Just a few tweaks here and there she says…
    Of course it is not structured as a mystery and the more I rewrite the more I realise needs to be rewritten and I have ground myself down into a hole where I hate it. It no longer sings to me.
    I was at the point of despair when I read your article. I printed the article off and took it to my writers group where I read it out. I have realised now it is the wrong story. For the sake of possible publication I am trying to fit a square story into a round hole. And even if I do bang it into some sort of circular and acceptable shape is that what I want to write?

    I think I need to go back to the lovely editor (she of the “few tweaks”) and just be honest.

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    • says

      Gah! A painful-but-wise decision, Alison! And SO BRAVE, especially if it is your first professional nibble. But ultimately, it has to be a book you love and speaks to you.

      Here’s hoping the perfect editor is just a query or two away!

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  22. Catherine Desgranges says

    Thank you! Your post is about fears but what I gained the most from it was to realize how vulnerability is the key to create contact, compassion and care. I mean I don’t know you, or haven’t read your books (sorry about that!) and I instantly connected to you. Empathy created through vulnerability. I want you to find the best story you can write. I want you to be happy. I want you to sell tons of books and prove that you were right. But above all else, I am reminded that we are one and the same. Through vulnerability you created a link. You became real and accessible and interesting.
    This to me is a wonderful writing lesson. This is what characters need to be. Grab our attention right away. Make us care. And now, I know that I will have a thought for you every so often because you are part of me somehow. You connected to me and I care.
    So yay to fears! They are wonderful when we face them alone, but even more rewarding when we share them!
    Thank you for your courage.

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    • says

      Wow Catherine, that was one of the most insightful blog comments I’ve ever read. I’m going to print that out to keep as a reminder–both for working on the book AND for composing blog posts.

      Thank you for sharing your wise thoughts!

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  23. says

    Ah yes. Fear. It paralyzes us all. And I’m starting to figure out that it’s what separates the “men from the boys” – for lack of a better term. Those who keep at it . . . those are the men. I believe that in this context, the opposite of fear is not courage, but perseverance :-)

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  24. says

    two things i really liked about your article, well, besides it’s timeliness for me :-)

    1) “How do I know I’m on the right track now? Because it’s working. It’s pretty much that simple. The turning points are appearing, right where they should be. The character’s growth arc now makes me shiver with anticipation rather than dread. There are lots of cool things I cannot wait to do in the story—things that weren’t there before.”

    and

    2) “…the transformational aspects of writing—of any sort of creativity. In the process of creating something, we not only make art, but we transform ourselves as well. Either through the stories themselves or the struggle to get them down on paper, something in the process forces us to deal with and rise above certain issues and hurdles we might not otherwise face, let alone conquer.”

    thanks so much robin, best wishes

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  25. Jackie Garlick says

    I love your writing. I adore by your storytelling. I will gladly wait.
    Take the time you need.
    With baited breath I will patiently wait for you to craft the best you have to offer me. :)

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    • says

      Jackie, would it be inappropriate of me to give you a big fat SMOOCH? Oh okay, it probably is. A heartfelt THANK YOU will have to suffice. :-)

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  26. says

    It sounds like a break-through to me. I would say congratulations are in order.
    And thank-you. It is seasoned writers like you, who are willing to be honest, which enable writers like me to have the courage to dip my toe in the water.

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  27. says

    I’ve come to the point where I recognize that fear and failure are the only two constants in writing, success and self-fulfillment are so inconstant and fleeting, that you’d best embrace fear and failure and learn to live with them. Kind of a grim prognosis but at least realistic and ultimately empowering.

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  28. says

    The idea that a seasoned, professional writer still has fears to face and conquer is both reassuring and daunting to me, the novice writer. But I guess anything worth doing is scary, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  29. says

    I worry about whether my writing is good enough, but not fear. I’m sure I’ll be able to “kick it up a notch” and feel real fear once I’m published and I have my reputation on the line. :)

    What caught my attention though, was the comment on organic characters. It made me compare writing with playing chess against myself. I make all sorts of strategies and plans to take down my opponent – and make my move – and then I try to forget what I’ve just done and look at the whole board from the opposite direction. It’s a mind game to be sure, but hey – I always win ;p.

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  30. says

    Thank you for sharing this, Robin! I’ve been there before (I trashed an entire 60K draft for my second book under contract) and likely will be again, and it is so, SO helpful to hear your inspiring words. You sound so much more jazzed about this new direction! Bravo to you, for having the courage to face your fear!

    Definitely bookmarking this for the next time I need to delete a large chunk! :-)

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  31. says

    You always zing me straight to the heart, Robin. Fear is my biggest, baddest obstacle. It keeps me up at night, makes me doubt everything, and robs me of joy.

    Thank you for your honesty and example. I’m rooting for you and drawing from your example when my own way is mucked by kudzu-like fear.

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  32. Anita says

    Fear — the True B*&%#!! can deplete us all at times. My Fear B*&%#!! tends to paralyze me — you know like looking into Medusa’s eyes. It can be so devastating at times. She will get you to wondering ‘what if this goes wrong, doesn’t happen, end badly … sometimes I will try to ignore her and press on, only to discover that she has attached a token to my waist that is weighing me down. Yeah Fear B&*% can get the best of us all at times. I guess it is true — ‘we are our worse critics’. Fear slows us down and sometimes sends us in another direction.

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  33. says

    The post is wonderful, but I particularly liked your sentence on fear: “Fear sauntered into the room, made itself comfortable, and refused to budge.”
    The wording is awesome; simple and concise, yet expressing a depth of feeling that is almost palpable.

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  1. […] Not only is fear the great mind killer(thank you Frank Herbert!) it is the great word killer, and creativity killer, and all-sorts-of-things killer.I keep asking myself how I, a seasoned writer with fifteen books under my belt, could have taken such a wrong turn, how I could have gotten so utterly sidelined. And again, the answer is Fear.  […]

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