Friday Speak Out!: When Fear Halts Your Hand (Write Anyway)

Friday, September 29, 2017
by Amanda Loduca

My husband likes to tell people that I’m an author. I have never referred to myself by that title, because I always assumed the word “published” had to precede it to be earned. Upon looking up the definition, however, I realized that I am, technically, an author.

This is something that instills fear in me, and for ridiculous reasons. Mainly, I hate the idea of fame. I don’t want to stand out. I don’t want to be recognized. I certainly don’t want to read comments from people who hate my books.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that fame is rare and that it takes an awful lot of work and marketing to reach that level. I know the average author barely ripples the sea of literature we’re swimming in. My mind though… you should hear what it’s like in here. It’s all worst-case scenarios taken to the Nth degree (but really, does anybody ever plan on getting a stalker?!)

When I vocalize my fears, people laugh. Why shouldn’t they? “Stop being so negative,” they say, or, “Why don’t you worry about actually getting published first?” Yes, yes, they’re right… Do I think that I’ll instantly spring to chart-topping success? No. But again, would I want that if it did happen? No. So why write?

I write because there are two Amandas- the one who laughs, dreams and hopes and then writes things down, and the one who just stumbles through life, drowning in words that want to burst out. And burst they will, in pointless ways- such as the enormous effort and editing I put into social media comments, or the 3-page essay contributions to my typically 1-page company newsletter.

So, there is no fighting it- I am a writer. When I realized this, and looked over the countless stories I’d left unfinished because of fear, I gave myself this advice: All you have to do is finish something… you decide whether you do anything with the finished product or not. That changed everything.

I’m sure I’m not the only novice writer that reads this blog. I may be the only weirdo that’s afraid of success, but I know I’m not alone in being afraid. Maybe you’re afraid of being too vulnerable. Maybe you’re afraid of failure. Perhaps you’re afraid of the judgment you’ll receive from setting your opinions free.

But that’s the thing- we’re thinking too many steps ahead. There’s no danger yet- our stories are still just ours. All we need to do is write what’s waiting inside of us that wants to come out- then we edit and decide. If only our families read them, who cares? We will know that we’ve done it, that we’ve accomplished something.

I finally followed my own advice and finished two novels that had been floating around in my head, and it feels good! Whether I take the next step or not remains to be seen, but I’m glad I took the first one.

* * *
Amanda Loduca is a Christian writer and stay-home mother who is passionate about two things: uplifting/helping others facing challenges she’s endured herself (divorce, multiple miscarriages, losing her mother at a young age) and writing the types of stories she would want to read- ones full of hope and humor, that offer a safe place to hide from the day-to-day. She has written two novels that are in the editing phase and uses the rest of her free time to enjoy the great outdoors, blog and write songs
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Joanne said...

Much wisdom here! Thank you for sharing it.

Lysa said...

Such a great article! Thank you for sharing!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Great post, Amanda! I've had a similar fear--not about finishing anything but about submitting and publishing creative nonfiction essays that are very personal. We all have our things, I guess! But I have to say that publishing is the best part of the process and is what helps us gain confidence. The words are lonely when they aren't shared. :) I applaud you for finishing two novels! That's a huge accomplishment. I hope you do take the next step--whether it's hiring a professional editor, pitching an agent, submitting to an indie, or even self pubbing. I'm sure others would love to read your work.

PS. I just read your bio, and you've faced a lot of challenges. I also lost my mother at a young age (13). Perhaps personal essays would be a way to start easing into publishing if you're open to writing about those things. That's what I'm doing right now...writing/publishing smaller works until I'm ready for a memoir.

Thanks for the post!

Amanda Loduca said...

Thank you for the encouragement, Angela! And for all the work you (and others) do to provide this site full of resources and inspiration for us.

For some reason I have no qualms putting personal stories out there but am scared of publishing fiction! ;)

Sandy Quandt said...

Amanda, thanks for your honest post. I, too, relate to the fear you mentioned. But like you said, we need to do our part and write those stories that have been placed in us, and see what comes next.

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