PART I: My Story
Just reading those four little letters can bring up a strong emotional response deep within. Fear plays an important role in our everyday lives, and can be a positive or negative. Fear can keep us safe by preventing us from doing things that are dangerous such as jumping off a cliff; but fear can also hinder us from achieving our dreams and living up to our true potential.
I didn’t always want to be an author, though I have always loved a good story, and have always loved to write. In the past, writing was more of a release for me than a career option. I always imagined getting paid to do work I was passionate about that would allow me the freedom to be my own boss and work from home, but for some reason, it never occurred to me that I could have those things as a writer. It just never even occurred to me that being a published author is a business. Perhaps that is the reason why I have so many unfinished manuscripts.
For years I tried to plan out the perfect business in my head, but I had so many interests that I had a hard time narrowing it down. As a result, I tried several different pathways, from becoming a certified genealogist, to a lifestyle coach, to a wardrobe consultant, all things I had an interest in. With each business, I spent hours upon hours designing and planning the business, and even went as far to design and set up a website and start a business blog, and order business cards. But when it actually came down to the wire and was time to put myself out there and begin advertising my services to the public, I froze. Each and every time. And so, each “business” just slowly fizzled out before they ever really got started.
My fears prevented me from taking the necessary steps to go any further and I ended up just spinning my wheels. I made tons of excuses. I told myself that perhaps I just wasn’t ready because I was still maturing and growing. Maybe I wasn’t passionate enough about the topic to want to do it full-time. Maybe I didn’t have enough experience. Maybe I just didn’t have what it took to be my own boss. What if …
I have since come to realize that these internal monologues that I had with myself were really based on deep-seated subconscious fears that I hadn’t even realized I had. I was afraid of success and of failure, and of putting myself out there, but most importantly, I think I was deeply afraid of rejection.
That is probably part of the reason why my decision to become a writer was a long-time-coming. I really don’t like rejection in any form. Who does, right? And any writer knows that rejections are pretty standard in the writing biz. I was terrified that I would spend months completing a manuscript and then no one would publish it. So, I continued to look at writing as more of a hobby than a business idea until finally after the encouragement of my family who believed that I could become a successful published author. Their support was important to nudging me in that direction.
Yet, I still suffered from the same issues. I would come up with story ideas and flesh out the plot and character arcs. I would begin a manuscript fervently with excitement only to stop about one-quarter to one-third of the way in. I told myself that the plot wasn’t strong enough to carry the entire story, or that the storyline wasn’t interesting enough, even when I had family members and beta-readers tell me otherwise. I thought perhaps I was writing the wrong genre and switched three different times.
Why Did I Not Take Steps To Achieve My Goal?
I knew deep down that there had to be something subconsciously causing me to continue to fail. I was intelligent, had a good grasp of story structure and could write moderately well. I also had a good grasp of website design, blogging, and marketing. So, it just didn’t make sense that I was having so much trouble getting past the planning stage.
It wasn’t until I began looking within and asking myself some really tough questions that decades of hidden subconscious fears began to slowly reveal themselves.
- Why was I so afraid of being rejected?
- Why would I rather write blog posts than finish a manuscript?
- How could I find time to watch television, read, and play computer games, but not find time to write?
- Why did I spend so much time researching and so little time actually writing?
In the past, I blamed my lack of action on my perfectionist tendencies. I convinced myself that I just wanted things to be the best they could possibly be. However, what I began to realize is that I really was afraid to put myself out there in the public eye. What if nobody wanted to publish my manuscript? What if I the books didn’t sell? What if I failed yet again? Fear had reared its ugly head and I wasn’t simply afraid, deep-down, I was terrified!
F-E-A-R (False Evidence Appearing Real)