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Fighting the Fear of Writing

I had fears. Big fears. Soul-crushing fears.

Let me give you an example. In 2003, I was a semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future contest. I’d sent in my story (which, BTW, predicted Bluetooth headsets 15 years before they became a thing) after months of sleepless nights and fearing what would happen.

I finished in the top 10, but I didn’t win.

Every quarter, WotF receives some 4 000 entries. My story was in the top-10 of those entries. The top 0,25%. It was judged to be better than 99,75% of all stories submitted that quarter.

But I didn’t win.

All my fears could see, was that I didn’t win. My story was crap. I was crap. I wasn’t a writer.

It took me two years, and a wonderful exercise book by Julia Cameron called “The Artist’s Way” (which I highly recommend that you read and do the exercises – they will free you from a lot of your fears) to get me writing again.

Even then, it was an on-again-off-again type of thing. Until 2014, when I sent in a poem to one of the biggest SF magazines in the world (Asimov’s SF) and they published it. Right then, I decided that I would submit and I wouldn’t stop submitting until I published something more.

Which took me almost two years to reach another pro magazine. Two years of rejections, and my infernal editor throwing fear at me.

Over time, that fear of rejections lessened. Now, I’ve got almost a thousand rejections (I’m throwing a party when I reach 1000 😉 .) But I’ve also got 63 sales, of which 47 are to pro-paying markets, I’ve got a novel and a collection published, and I’ve got fourteen more books in the works (publishing, even indie publishing, is slow).

So it can happen. It takes time to fight your fears. Time, and support, and courage.

But it can be done.

So do it! Follow your dreams! You’re worth it!

Luck and Persistence!

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