Marie Lavender – How to Use Fear Courageously
On the eve of the release of Marie’s latest instalment in her Heiresses in Love Series – Upon your Love, I asked her to share with my readers a little bit about how she has handled fear in her writing career.
It can either motivate you or cripple you. As a writer, a healthy dose of fear, or at least some anxiety, can help you to better prepare yourself for an event or project. A deadline on the horizon might urge you to get moving on a book you’ve put off for a time. An upcoming radio interview might, in turn, cause you to think critically about what questions will be asked.
So, there are advantages to fear. Fear can be a useful tool.
But just as quickly, fear can be immobilizing. A writer’s fear of the unknown can result in inactivity. Paralysis. Not physically, of course. But, creatively? It happens. We’ve all heard of writer’s block. And sure, it’s not always caused by our fears. Sometimes we’re just overwhelmed and need a break. But true paralysis for a writer? That’s the stuff of nightmares.
I’m sure everyone has heard a story or two about a writer who loved their craft so much, lived to write…and then one day? They never spoke of their passion again. For one reason or another, that dream of being publishing fell by the wayside. Maybe life got in the way. Marriage, kids, a different career – those are all decent reasons. But it’s also possible that these were simply external reasons, excuses to validate the loss of a dream. A dream that at one time, meant so much to the writer.
Writers might have many fears…
How do I take that next step? What if I can’t get published? What if no one reads my books?
The list just goes on. I’m not going to lie and say that some of those fears truly go away. But there are ways to use your fears to your own advantage.
The trick is to learn from fear, to transform your fears into courage. Action.
During my writing journey – which never ends, by the way – I was afraid many times. After years of procrastination, I began to realize that my fear, being afraid of taking that next step, was essentially trapping me. I didn’t want to be in the dark forever. I wanted to see one of my books in print someday. Even if going forward was scary, my dream outweighed the fears I had.
In 2010, I noticed the self-publishing trend really taking off. Ebooks had quickly become a thing. I threw myself into getting a book organized so that I could release it. It became a literary fiction/poetry collection. Subsequently, I released other books in various genres. I began to realize that the more often I tried, the less I noticed the fear dragging me down. Sure, every time I submitted a manuscript, I got that little clench in my belly and the inevitable fluttering sensation of butterflies. But it was beyond worth it.
In fact, I truly believe that breaking into self-publishing gave me the courage to start submitting other works to literary agents and publishing companies. And in some cases, building your brand beforehand, having an established platform, can seem more attractive to potential publishers. But you can’t get there if you don’t try.
So, what’s my point here? If you’re a writer, and taking that final step – publishing an ebook just try out the industry – seems more trouble than it’s worth, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want to be trapped, crippled by my fears?
- Do I want to wake up one day and perhaps resent my family or boss for the loss of my dreams, even though I was the one who gave it all up?
- Do I see this writing thing as a hobby or a dream that may someday become a career instead?
A writing career is not for everyone. There are numerous hurdles to face. But, you can overcome those fears writers always have, and take the last few steps into the unknown.
All you need to do is try. Put your heart, your soul into your dream, and those fears will seem a little less relevant. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
And it’s very true. Do our fears ever really go away? Probably not. New ones creep up now and then. But we can silence them by trying, by doing.
Should you, as a writer, try publishing an ebook (Amazon KDP, Smashwords, and even Kobo are great options, but I’d make sure your work is edited and formatted first)? What’s stopping you? Only yourself.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll quiet those fears with a simple effort, and years down the road, you’ll see this moment, when you chose to overlook your fears, as a defining moment in your career.
Be brave, and use your writer fears wisely. Courageously. Defy those fears, and I guarantee you’ll never regret it.
****For a chance to win a copy of book 1 in Marie’s series Heiresses in Love, check out this article about her latest release book 3 – Upon Your Love.****