Look around Indies Unlimited and you’ll find lots of good writers. Some of them are even very good writers. In fact, I would be willing to bet that there isn’t a lot that separates the best of us from the worst of us. So why does it seem that a few do better than the many?
Fear of rejection. Fear of success. Fear of … well … just about anything outside of writing.
When do we feel the safest? You got it, when were squirreled away in our writing space. Our writing haven. All our little things surround us that help make us comfortable. Whether it’s the chair or pictures, or other books — this might be your safe place. You can write with reckless abandon and drift away to another world. Your world that you created.
You can pound out the words or edit and revise without a worry in the world. If we’re so good at this part, what keeps us from the rest?
Throughout the years, I’ve heard many a writer lament on public speaking or promoting their books. There has been a multitude of reasons that really good work goes on treading water for years. “But, I promote myself through Facebook and other places online?”
Think about it, besides that fact that it is free, what other reason do you gravitate to these platforms. Yep, you can hole yourself up in your “writing” space and … write. It’s the path of least resistance.
Conquering fear will take you to the next level. The first step is identifying your fear. Spend some time and ask yourself the hard questions. Discover the real reason you won’t stop in at the local bookstore and ask for a date to do a reading. You see, the only way to get over your fear is to attack it head on.
One of the greatest means for overcoming fear is commitment. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true. There is a difference in interest and commitment. You might have an interest in writing and publishing. That’s great, but you will typically take the path of least resistance. Commitment is built on results. You won’t stop until you achieve the results that you want.
I’m sure we could ask Martin Crosbie about fear and commitment. He quit his full-time job to write. I know what you’re going to say: “If I sold 30,000 books in one month I’d quit my job, too!”
You say that … but, would you? We all know the details about selling eBooks. It’s not like he won the lottery and made millions. The commitment that he made going forward put him out there. There was no plan B. How many of us can put the fear of the unknown aside and take that chance?
It’s time to conquer our fears. It’s time to schedule that book reading … in public! It’s time to offer a seminar on self-publishing. It’s time to do that radio or blog interview. Put yourself out there and get trampled a little bit. Get comfortable being UNcomfortable.
9 thoughts on “Don’t Let Fear Stand in the Way of Your Success”
Ah…the age old issue of conquering fear. My experience is probably no different from others. After a very successful career in sales, I was astounded that I was so tongue tied about selling my own work:) It was me…I birthed it, was responsible for every good and bad thing about it. No manufacturer to blame, no warranty department to throw complaints to… Terrifying:)
You’re absolutely right, Jim. It takes every ounce of courage I have every time I approach a business and ask them to sell my books or to have me in for a reading. The actual events are not nearly so frightening. It’s that “cold call” that often stops me , well, cold.
This is a great post, Jim. I suck at this stuff. I have thought to myself a million times that I need to go talk to all the bookstores around. I haven’t. I will now.
Great post, Jim, and definitely an issue for me. The first couple of times I approached local businesses the response wasn’t as friendly as I’d hoped it might be. I’ve done several events since then, and had a great time at each, but that fear is still there.
Familiarity is that warm cozy blanket that keeps us tucked in tight. Take the blanket away and it becomes an OMG what am I going to do? I believe if you approach someone with a plan or idea, smile, and loosen up the shoulders. Even if you, or your idea are rejected, smile again. It is worth the risk. Next…most people are receptive, but you have to plant the seed.
And then – after you’ve sucked it in and stepped up, approached the bookshops and the libraries, done the readings and the book signings – you have to keep on stepping up, keep on organising the readings and the book signings, and offering your services, in whatever way they can be packaged, to the various writers groups and anyone else who might want to have an experienced author like yourself talk about and share the subject that is nearest to you heart.
Excellent article, Jim, we all need reminding.
Fear is certainly my bugbear. I can face some types of fear, but writing is such an important part of my life that I can’t be fearless about failing as a writer. If I fail too many times I’ll lose the ability to try at all. So I’m cautious with the risks I’m prepared to take. 🙁
I’m scared to even try to conquer my fear, lol. Can someone else do the reading for me. I can talk to people though.
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