When in Doubt….

The idea of fear preventing us, especially as writers, from accomplishing what we dream is not something that has often effected me. If anything is my downfall, it’s sheer laziness, but the tables have turned a little. I’m still struggling with the beginning of the reboot to Serpent in a Cage, standing at the threshold of starting the new approach, yet unable to cross it. It isn’t that I don’t know how to start it, because I do. I have a very clear idea in my head of starting with the world and then zooming in, to talk about the city we’re in, and then finally bringing us to focus on Locke in the middle of a theft. I think it works well for the beginning of a series, and brings the world more into it, too, which I feel was lacking in the original draft. But I can’t bring myself to write it. Why?

Fear. Doubt. Uncertainty. For some reason, as much as I like the approach and I think I can write it well, there’s just something not quite right about it. I feel almost as if it’s not good enough, that it’s too typical. I’m struggling because I think the idea came from the fact that I started a new Terry Pratchett book the other day, and he often starts his Discworld books by talking about the Disc floating through space on the back of the Great A’Tuin, supported by the four elephants. Is this idea of starting SiaC like this purely inspired by Pratchett? Or is going to have enough of me in it? Are people going to find description of our setting right away off-putting? A first chapter should draw the reader in, not bore them to tears. But why do I think it’ll be boring? I find it interesting; I plan on using an engaging tone that will hopefully draw the reader in, make them feel like they’re being lead somewhere far different from our old world by a knowledgeable and friendly guide…I think it could really work. I think it could be really good.

So what’s the problem? The fear of it not meeting my expectations for it. I don’t get this feeling very often, so it’s driving me nuts and I’ve been berating myself, telling myself to just buck up and write it. It’ snot like I can’t rewrite it later; I’ve been doing that with SiaC for years. So, today, that’s my goal. To just push myself over that lump of fear that it’s not right, that it’s not good enough, that [insert barrage of other excuses here]…I’m just going to do it, and I bet I’m going to be extremely glad I did. It won’t be a waste of time and effort; even if it doesn’t work, it’ll be a learning experience.

Are you an author who encounters this crippling fear and uncertainty often? What do you do to help yourself get past it? For me, I think a good cup of coffee, a nice kick in the pants, and a little bit of ranting about it on my blog does wonders. I’ve got all three right now, so we shall see.


  1. For me, I have no problem with the beginning. Not trying to toot my own hown, but I have a pretty kick-ass beginning. However…it starts getting fuzzy in the middle and the end is just a big black hole of nothingness. I need to figure a few more things out before I write, except I usually figure my best stuff out while I’m writing. Ugh.

  2. You have to believe in yourself. The writing part is nothing to the getting published part and repeated rejection and disappointment. Takes stamina . For instance, my tech and I have spent many hours over last several weeks preparing cartoon book for kindle and it just does not seem right for that medium. On the other hand a new blog follower will soon publish 4 of my cartoons in his publication. Ya never know from where or when opportunity will come so must stay determined.

  3. I’ve never had a crippling fear of anything related to my writing. I guess this is because I’m kind of fearless about most things, and I also know that writing is not brain surgery. I don’t hold the life of someone in my hands. So I try to put it in perspective and realize that, although what I’m doing is important, it still won’t kill me or anyone else if I have a slip of the knife, er, keyboard. LOL. I know a lot of authors would rail on me for this attitude, but it keeps me sane. It keeps me from driving myself crazy. It keeps writing fun instead of being a chore. If you enjoy writing your WIP, I think that joy will come through in your work. People will feel it. Am I making any sense whatsoever???

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