Fear Of Writing After Being Published: An Author Account
Being a writer has been one of the most emotional journeys of my life. When I submitted my idea to an independent publishing house and the idea was picked up, I thought this was the direction I was supposed to go. I had so many dreams (as I still do) about my writing career, but my journey has seemed to come to a halt. I’ve been self-reflecting and trying to find the reason I am having a hard time writing.
At first, I blamed it on procrastination, but I do plenty of other things that writing would be a reprieve. As I dug deeper I realized I am scared to write again. Not write, but finish a writing project. It is affecting my ability to meet deadlines and my passion for writing and creating.
To define this fear, let’s start with my experience with an independent publishing house. It has been an emotional roller coaster. It started before my book was published. My editor was replaced multiple times without communication. Once the editing was completed, my publish date changed without communication, and once it was published, I had no help with marketing. The publisher’s site has gone down many times, and the owner doesn’t return emails or phone calls. It took longer than a year to get my author copies and a half-assed response from anyone. My royalty checks are non-existent and it has been a difficult experience. To this day I am unable to contact anyone from the publishing house.
It’s easy to see why this experience has contributed to my fear of writing, but there’s more. Although I try not to, I base my readership and book success on reviews, which are limited to very few and only because my mom left one. I keep trying to market my book, but I worry about the storyline and if it’s really what I wanted to write. Even if I sell the book, I have no access to what the numbers are. People have bought it, but I wonder what they think. It’s difficult to move forward from these feelings.
I have contributed to anthologies since the publishing of my novel, but then I panic because of the editing processes and the pending reviews. This fear doesn’t feel normal and I am sure my new-found depression isn’t helping, but how can I keep it moving? According to an article by Sage Cohen, “10 Ways to Harness Fear And Fuel Your Writing:”
“What do you fear most in your writing life? Take a moment to evaluate if it truly is likely to do you serious harm. If the answer is no, then I invite you to make a point of doing this very thing—as much as you can—until you exhaust fear’s charge around it. I’m not suggesting this process will be fast or easy, though that’s possible. But I do know that the more ambitious you are in tackling a significant challenge, the greater your self-confidence will be on the other side.”
Cohen also advises:
“Fear exists to keep us safe. If you are feeling fear, you are likely perceiving danger. The harder you try to silence the fear, the louder it will get to try to protect you. Therefore, I propose that you lean into that fear, and really listen to what it wants you to know.”
Cohen also suggests deciding what the actual fear is and if it will actually harm you, if it’s just fear of rejection or bad work, then changing habits and the ways of thinking can help keep you moving forward. These steps seem easy enough, I need to stop associating all experiences with bad experiences because I have had more good than bad happen to me in my life. I have identified the fear now it’s time to deal with it and get over it!