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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fear As Inspiration by Guest Blogger Carla Fredd


My greatest source of inspiration: FEAR

My name is Carla Fredd and writing is my biggest fear. As a romance writer, this is a bit of a problem. What am I afraid of? If it has anything to do with writing, I’m afraid of it. Here’s a short list of my fears. I fear my writing sucks swamp water. I fear my writing is good and I’ll never be that good again. I fear my editor. I fear my publishing house. I fear that my next book will be the last book I’ll ever have published. I fear I will fail as a writer. I fear I will succeed as a writer. I fear that I will never truly understand grammar. I fear I’ll have a book signing and no one will attend. I fear being a mediocre writer. I fear the manufacturers of word processing software will decide to get rid of spell check. I fear I will have to give back my advance check.

I’ll stop now because believe me I could go on with the list. Could it be that I fear the people reading this blog will think I’m neurotic and need serious therapy? Well, yeah.

My fears are both a curse and a blessing. The curse - my fear can cause me to doubt my work which makes me procrastinate. Repeat after me: Hail Carla, Empress of Procrastination and Queen of Writer’s Block. The blessing –In all other areas of my life, I’m pretty fearless. It makes me mad when I realize that fear is keeping me from writing. That’s when I focus on writing. That’s when I plant my butt in a chair and stay there until I have so many pages written. That’s when the pages start to pile up and my characters come to life. The more I write the more I can receive those flashes of inspiration about my character or plot. Fear of failing inspires me to keep reading books on the craft of writing. It inspires me to read the authors whose work I adore and new authors.

When I first started to write, I tried to conquer my fears. I quickly learned from successful, published authors that fear never really goes away. I’ve decided to use my fears and let them inspire me to become a better writer.

I’ll bet if you’re reading this post, you also have writing related fears. There are two books which helped me.
The War of Art: Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles by Steven Pressfield and Write For Your Life by Lawrence Block.

Now, you know how fear inspires me. What are your writing fears?

Carla is raffling off her current Kimani Romance release The Perfect Man. Post a response to her blog to win!

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12 Comments:

At 9:07 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

First, let me say, "Welcome, Carla!"

One fear I have is that my writing won't improve. To combat that fear, I read a lot of books about writing, go to workshops. And, of course, listen to my critique partners!

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

GREAT post! Deadlines and not doing enough promotion are pretty scary for me. They also go hand-in-hand. Work too much on promo and you might miss a deadline. Just write, and promo falls by the wayside and people don't know about your books. That's why I fear not becoming a bestselling writer. Someone else does a lot of promotion for them. :D

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Carla, glad you're here today! Love your post. And I just read that your first book was made into a television movie! That's pretty cool and what a way to start out your writing career!

My biggest fear is fear of failure. Other than that, I like to think I'm fearless and that I could do anything. In fact, I jumped out of a plane yesterday! It was something I didn't think I'd ever do, but it was awesome.

Fear of failure absolutely motivates me to get my butt in the chair. Thanks for sharing your fears with us! Wishing you lots of success with all your books!

 
At 2:07 PM, Blogger Carla Fredd said...

Thanks Esri and Theresa. Fear is a big hang up for writers whether it's fear of promotion or fear of failure. The best you can do is acknowledge your fears and keep on going :)

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger Charity said...

Great post, Carla! One book that really helped me was Ralph Keyes' The Courage to Write.

It got me out of a fear-induced slump and it also helped a friend of mine.

 
At 5:03 PM, Blogger Gillian Layne said...

Great post!

My fear is that any bit of good feedback has been a fluke, that one or two pages are all right, but when someone reads the entire book they'll point and yell, "Fraud!" or something equally terrifying. :)

My incredibly supportive CP's get me through the fear, bless them.

 
At 5:05 PM, Blogger Gillian Layne said...

Theresa, you jumped out of a PLANE?? Wow.

 
At 8:57 PM, Blogger Carla Fredd said...

Charity - Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll read it!

Gillian - Ahhhh...the fear of being a fraud. Fraud is defined as deceit, trickery or misrepresentation. If you are writing the words (and they're your own...no plagiarism here :)), then how can you be a fraud? It doesn't matter if you write one or two pages or the whole manuscript. You're a writer.

Now, I've got to ask. What is your definition of a writer?

If you consider a writer someone who has a book published, I disagree. IMO, the person who is offered a contract for the first time really doesn't know anymore once they hang up the phone after the "call" then before they picked up the phone. It's not the contract or actual book that makes you a "real" writer. It's the act of writing that make you a writer.

Carla :)

 
At 11:52 PM, Blogger Gillian Layne said...

Never thought of it like that, but so true!
Thanks, Carla! :)

 
At 8:42 AM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Oooh, Carla, I like that! The act of writing makes you a writer. Of course that means you have to get off your butt (or in this case sit on your butt) and write!

I will say, my dear friend Gillian, you are NOT a fraud! Your first book is a gem and I know this next one will be too.

I have always said the only thing worse than fear of failure is fear of success. Both can cripple you. I know that well.

I am afraid I have the same fears as my buddy, Gillian. My first (as yet unpublished) book has received a lot of positive feedback, but it is so easy to say "Oh, well, that was just a lucky shot." I want to take that little voice in my head, duct tape its mouth shut and lock it in a closet!

My greatest fear? Working at Wal-Mart long enough to become a door greeter so old and decrepit that I have to use a grocery buggy as a walker! EEEEEK! I don't have to get rich as a writer. If I just make as much at it as I make running the bakery for Wal-Mart I can leave the Great Retail Satan forever! Trust me, ladies. It ain't that much money!

So, what does this fear do to me? Two things. At times it inspires me to sit down and write my little fingers off. And other times I inspires me to throw a big old pity party complete with copious amounts of chocolate, Jane Austen movies (sobbing "I'll never write anything even remotely this good!")and days with no writing!

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Carla, welcome. Sorry I'm a day late getting over here. Too much to do, too few hours!

I've had this fear since way before I sold -- having someone read my published book and think, "How did this ever get published?"

Theresa, I see you survived the jump.

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

Welcome, Carla! Great post!

I've decided that other writers are my greatest heroes because every day they sit down and conquer their fears. And though many days they do not succeed, they go on, setting aside their latest rejections, tucking away negative comments, ignoring their past experiences that would tell any reasonable person they are unworthy. And even though feeling unworthy and fraudulent, they write, write, write. I don't know many people who aren't writers who keep going against such odds.

 

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