Image from Flickr, by Thomas Hawk.
So this week was an interesting one for me.
The web design business is going well, and I love my clients. But you see, something important is happening. My husband’s job is finally bringing in enough to pull us out of the black hole of foreclosure. All by itself. We actually have a little savings, and all our bills are paid. So that led to this conversation.
Me: “You know, I’m really just afraid of being willing to write full-time. I’m afraid it won’t work, that I’ll never get picked up, that I’ll try my hardest and fail.”
Duane: “I know.”
Me: *glances at him* “You’re not telling me to keep my feet on the ground.”
Duane: “I think you should write full-time.”
Me: *eeping sounds*
We talked about it. A lot.
It’s a scary thing to jump into something as a full-time job when it doesn’t bring in any money. Sure, someday it might, but right now? Nada. And I’ll be spending most of my days on it.
But it feels right.
Am I crazy? Maybe. Depends on how you look at it.
The only thing I have against me here is fear.
1. I don’t need it for income. Husband’s job is taking care of that, so we won’t starve if I don’t get published.
2. Husband WANTS ME TO. I’ve been married to him for more than five years now, and he still continually baffles me with this mad persistence of support. He supports me. He believes in me. He wants me to follow my dream – and he fully believes that dream will be come reality.
3. So. What reason do I have… not to do it?
That’s the kicker. I don’t. The only thing I have against me here is fear.
Fear is Tricky Business
Fear of what? Of failure, of rejection? Here’s a funny story that helps to answer that.
I read a blog post by an author a little while ago that first irritated the hell out of me – and then (as things that make one angry often do) it woke me up.
The author was brave enough to admit they (notice my gender-neutral pronoun) were scared spitless. Not over failure. Not over lack of publication. After all, this author already had THREE best-selling books, and one of the best agents in the business. This author actually had publishers going to AUCTION for their stuff.
I admit it. I was pissed.
This author, it should be noted, never even had an agent rejection. The talent there is so extreme (and it is amazing talent) that they got their dream agent on the first try.
So. Never rejected. Successfully published. Fan-people all over the world.
And this author was afraid.
Afraid. Afraid that they wouldn’t come up with new ideas, afraid that they wouldn’t be able to keep up the momentum, afraid that the time to fly was over.
I admit it. I was pissed.
Yes, it’s jealousy. Here I am, struggling to get the attention of the publishing community, as so many fellow writers are. I don’t have an agent. I have hundreds of rejections. I’m not quitting. I’m not giving up – I have something I think people will really want to read. But getting through that door isn’t easy for me, and that’s okay. As I have to wait by the gatekeepers, I’m learning more about my craft, learning from fantastic writers who’ve gone before me, and getting better and better.
From my point of view, this author’s fears seemed utterly ridiculous – and then I woke up.
From my point of view. When so many authors I know would give ANYTHING to be able to write full-time. To not have to worry about putting food on the plate via words on the page. To have a spouse who supported them half as much as I do.
Fear is relative to where we are in life.
So what am I afraid of?
No, seriously. “Failure?” What the hell is failure? Quitting? Well, I’m not going to quit, so… I guess that’s out. Bad reviews? Meh, everybody gets those. Not being published traditionally, or having to go some odd route? That happens. It’s real life, and it doesn’t kill you. Maybe finding people don’t enjoy my writing as much as I hope? Ah, but I have beta readers who are very trustworthy – who are not, in fact, personal friends of mine (at least at the time I gave them stuff to read), and I got REACTIONS. They howled. Screamed. One of them threw pages across the room.
They’re still talking about the book I gave them more than a year ago, and it’s been revised and is better now.
So I know people will enjoy this. When the time comes, they will.
What. Am I. Afraid of.
I am doing this, world. I am going to write full-time, not letting a day pass without putting words on the page. Nebulous fear is there, and will continue to haunt me, but it’s just fear. It’s not an actual brick wall. I can get past this.
I will get past this.
Massive Life Change, get ready. Here I come.