Writers are some of the most scared people you’ll ever meet. Many have dreams of fame, fortune and publication, but something always gets in the way. What’s stopping these writers? Their own fears.
Over the years, I have met a lot of writers. They tend to fall into one of two groups: Those who are actively persuing their dreams of a writing career no matter the difficulties and those who are so fearful of trying they never attempt to make a sale.
So what is stopping the latter group?
- Fear of rejection by agents and publishing houses. This is the main reason many people self publish.
- Fear that readers will hate what they have written.
- Disgust about how slow the traditional publishing route takes. This is another reason people self publish.
- Others have convinced them writing is not a real profession.
Why I Stopped
I have been writing fiction since I was in fourth grade. This is why I was an English major in college. I had dreams of winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. But then I stopped writing for more than a decade. Why did I stop?
I became disillusioned with the entire industry. I didn’t like waiting six months only to get a rejection notice. I didn’t want to revise my work, because it was “art,” to please a publisher. And I had no desire to write short stories to build my reputation when I was brimming with ideas for longer works.
There was no such thing as eBooks and self publishing back in those days and thank goodness. I wasn’t that great of a writer then and I would have embarrassed myself.
Other people’s comments throughout the years have been bothersome as well. Well-meaning relatives told me I had best choose a career that actually pays. My grandfather wanted me to be a doctor despite my fear of germs and my disgust of the traditional educational system. Eventually, I left writing behind because I had bills to pay and I wanted to be a self sufficient adult, something one can’t always do being a freelance writer.
How I’m Following My Dreams
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stay away from writing. I opened my editorial business in 2011. Nonfiction is a different genre than fiction and attracts a completely different audience, but it has given me an opportunity to learn about business ownership in addition to the brave new world of online publishing and the changing world of traditional publishing.
In my spare time, I began to write fiction again. It had been a long time since I had written anything creative and I wasn’t sure what the end result would be, but since it was my first original idea in a decade or more, I figured it was worth doing.
I had someone I was having a difference of opinion with tell me that I have no idea how to deal with creative people. This comment was not only inaccurate, it was hurtful. I have been working on a novel for more than three years. I live in my characters’ world sometimes more than I live in my own.
My novel stayed on the backburner for years. Had I not made it a priority, it would still be there. I stopped working for clients on Fridays and focused on my own project instead. I’m superstitious about talking about works-in-progress, but I will say this: I am ready to begin querying agents in 2015.
I am finally following my dream. I had a lot of detours, and naysayers are everywhere, but I am the closest I have ever been. I feel confident and excited about my manuscript and hopeful for the future.
What is stopping you from following your dreams? What are you going to do to change it?
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