Today’s key-phrase of choice is: “What is my greatest fear in writing.”
Well… I obviously can’t tell the person who’d done the search their biggest fear, but since I’m assuming their search is about the reasonable fears of being a writer, I thought I’d talk about that.
I think that all writers have two fears, although to varying degrees.
The first fear: That we’re not as good as we thought we were.
The second fear: That we’ll get our books out there and readers won’t get what we’ve written or the book doesn’t sell.
So… pretty much your run-of the mill fear of failure. Of course, when you’re stuck in the grips of fear, it doesn’t really feel all that normal.
But it’s necessary to remember the following: Firstly: We’re never as good as we think we are. We’re always too critical or not critical enough. So accept it. Then there’s nothing to be afraid of. But there will be things that we can do. We can write more to hone our craft to the best it can be. We can give our work to crit partners who will (if they’re worth their salt) point out the errors and give you suggestions for improvement. That way you can see where you need to improve and work to improve it. Also, having someone else read your work will give you a slightly more accurate measure of your ability to get across what you want readers to see. But crit partners are a topic for another day.
|The Red Vinyard at Arles|
As for the book not selling, there’s always a chance that it won’t. It doesn’t mean that you’re a bad writer. Reading, like art, is subjective. So the amount of books sold does not reflect on your success and failure as a writer. Remember: Vincent Van Gogh sold ONE painting in his lifetime. The rest all went to his brother Theo. Including:
This one (it inspired a song):
|Starry Night over St Remy|
And my favorite:
|The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night|
Units sold isn’t always a measure of talent. It’s a measure (to a large extent) of conformity. It’s a measure (to a huge extent) of luck.
If you think about things from this perspective, these fears aren’t all that scary, are they? Just never let go of your perspective. It’s vital to your sanity as a writer.
What’s your greatest writing fear?