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Thursday, July 18, 2013


Writers: What Are You Afraid Of?


If you say you never experience fear about writing, I'd say you're not being honest. At some point in our writing lives, we've experienced the scariness of rejection, the trepidation of sending a blind query, the fear of not meeting personal expectations. Fear of failure.

But do not let fear hold you back.

I know, easier said than done, right?

I took my own advice recently. About five years ago, I queried a prestigious regional magazine, offering an intriguing historical piece about a house in the area I live. The features editor showed interest and wanted clips. I sent three of the best clips I'd written. His response: "Nope, these don't do it for me."

Let me tell you, that knocked the writing wind right out of me!

Since then, I've scoured every issue of this magazine, analyzing the style, and let's be honest - I'm wondering why my writing style wouldn't be a great fit!

As each new issue arrived in my mailbox, I'd grow a bit more frustrated, primarily with myself, for being afraid of what the rejection meant and the effect it had over me.

Then, I decided to do something about it. The publication advertised for writers. I sent a short bio and listed a few places I've been published. An hour later, I received a reply AND a welcome to the magazine.

Doesn't being scared let you know you're on to something important?

It certainly does.

It allows you the opportunity to confront failure and turn it into a meaningful lesson. I just wish it hadn't taken five years. :)

by LuAnn Schindler

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Blogger Sioux said...

LuAnn--Some of us (like you and me) are more hard-headed than others...

I am a firm believer that we learn more from our mistakes (failures) and our successes (publications).

5:44 AM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

Five years may seem long in real time, but really in writing time, it's not that bad. :) Just think about some of the stuff we say sometimes: It only took two years to get my short story published. Only two years? Non-writing people look at us like we're nuts. :) Anyway, glad you are confronting failure now.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Renee Roberson said...

For years I was afraid of being "blacklisted" by national magazines if I made a dumb error on a query. I'm finally starting to get over that and realize how silly it was. I've talked to writers who have received assignments even with a typo in their query, so it's not always the little things. I'm also getting braver in showing my fiction to people. What I fear most now is writing query letters to agents. I'm not sure why. The thought of condensing the plot of an entire book into a single-page terrifies me!

2:35 PM  

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