Don't Be Afraid of Failure

YorkWriters: Only the Brave

Read the above post, and read Dean Wesley Smith's post on the same subject. Whether you're gung-ho into the indie thing or are submitting to smaller or online presses, these two fantastic posts tell you that it's okay to fail.

Especially read the part in the York Writers blog which talks about George Clooney and his fear of failure. Yeah, George Clooney fears failure. But he hasn't given up. As the post points out, Mr. Clooney was in a Batman movie that tanked at the box office (I'd forgotten about that). Here he is, though, years later, nominated for all sorts of awards for two movies he did this year.

I know, I know, he's a celebrity and all that. He has a lot of movies and a TV series behind him. He has name recognition. But he could have allowed his career to go into the toilet, he could have allowed that stinker of a movie to get to him.

That he didn't let that happen sends a clear message to all of us, aspiring or not: Recognize your fear, and take steps to conquer it. Easier said than done, but it can be done.

Just recognizing your fear of something is the first step in getting over it.

My fears? As I said in the comments on Dean Wesley Smith's site, I'm afraid my story won't be perfect, so I rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite. I also overthink things, imaging people reading certain scenes and not understanding them; coming up with different angles that readers might come up with to rip apart those scenes is just too much for my mind, which is already reeling from personal things going on in my life.

This happened to me in the 3rd novella. I was concerned about a couple of scenes near the end. I thought the ending was just right. But there were some continuation problems - which I fixed. Then I got into editing mode, and that's where I got into trouble: Tweaking and retweaking. After the editing was done, I stopped with the tweaking, because I realized what I was doing.

I didn't want the story to be rewritten where my voice wasn't coming through anymore. And I was in danger of doing that.

So I did the Table of Contents hyperlinks, did one last spellcheck, and got it uploaded.

I don't think I've completely gotten over the endless rewrites, and I know I haven't gotten over the overthinking part, either. But I feel a sense of accomplishment because I recognized what was happening and took action.

I think that's the key. If you let it get away from you - like I've done in the past - the story will be so bent out of shape, it won't look anything like you've envisioned; I have an historical fantasy like that which I've managed to resurrect, and will be working on that, off and on, during 2012. (It's a novel, and it's going to take some time to get the historical facts straight.) But I so love the idea and the characters that I felt I HAD to resurrect it. Only time will tell if it's been worth it.

Goals for 2012:

1. Finish and upload 10-12 short stories and novelettes in the super-secret category (i.e., not fantasy) under a pen name.
2. Work on historical fantasy/alternate history series set in NYC in the 1930s. Tentatively titled "Werewolves on Broadway."
3. Finish and upload historical fantasy set World War II California. Titled "Personal Demons."
4. Further sketch out ideas for a fantasy/SF series set on an asteroid. This is just in the beginning stages (percolating in my mind).

So, what fears about your writing do you have? Are you afraid of success? Do you endlessly rewrite like I do? Or is there some other fear that affects your writing?