When Writing Gets Scary

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Writing can be scary. Anyone who has never written for publication may feel I’m exaggerating.  But the fears are real. I’ll only speak from my own experience. There has not been a time when I wasn’t at least a little concerned about my words as I craft or submit them. The longer I work at this creative craft of writing the scarier it can become.

At first, I fought fear:

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  1. When I sat down to write wondering if it’s any good.
  2. Sharing my work with others.
  3. Having my work critiqued
  4. Pitching it at conferences
  5. Sending out manuscripts to agents, editors and publishers
  6. Receiving Rejections
  7. Receiving a call saying a contract is on the way
  8. Working though the publication process
  9. Marketing that book
  10. Writing the next book

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Now I only get scared when:

  1. I begin a new book
  2. Pitch a new idea
  3. Complete my Manuscript
  4. Receive an email request for my manuscript
  5. Get a rejection
  6. Get the call of acceptance
  7. Get a call from an editor to write in a novella collection
  8. Write the novella
  9. While finishing a requested manuscript
  10. I wonder if my readers will love it

And at times I feel the fear more intently because I know how much work is involved in getting the story out into the marketplace. Each new cover gives me a feeling of joy and dread. Will the readers like it? Is it my best work? Will sales be good enough to get me noticed so I can continue to do what I love.

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For me all through this scary journey as an author I have recalled the verse: “Whenever I am afraid I will trust in You.” And mant other passages draw me out of my fear. My faith keeps me focused and brings peace amid the stormy times. Reflecting on God’s Word is my calming place. Those powerful words written by the Author of the Universe remind me who is in control of my life and I need not be afraid.

What is the scariest part of the writer’s life for you? What calms your fears ?

Focusing On my Writing Helps During Stressful Times

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This week has been more than hairy. My father ended up in the hospital in the midst of getting my parent’s house on the market. My Dad is already in a memory care unit and now it’s time to move my mom to assisted living. My father’s hospital stay was a nightmare and now he is in rehab with hopes of restoring function after a hard fall. He’s 87 so it won’t be easy. As POA (power of attorney) for my parents, all the decisions fall on me.  My mom needs extra attention during this time and must be removed from her home every time someone wants to view her house. She has three doctor’s appointments this week as well.

These things on top of other life events make it difficult to function at times. Yet, I find writing to be my lifeline. I’ve had to prepare two guest blogs and work on my WTP while doing other pre-pub prep for my novel’s release. Writing has been unbelievably helpful with the stress I’m under.

Some of you probably think I’m weird. I get that. In the past writing would always take a back seat to whatever else came along. It was something I did when I had time. Something I did during free moments. And certainly not in the middle of the messes of life.

As I’ve gotten older and life has not slowed down around me I have no choice. If I want to make this writing thing work I have to press forward. Maybe I can’t reach all my writing goals for the week. Every week I create a too long to-do list. That’s just my nature. If I can accomplish anything on that list during a stressful time it seems to give me balance.

Balance helps me cope. Coping leads me to pray with more clarity. Increased prayer leads me to peace. And peace helps me manage the extreme stress of my present situation.

Psalms 29:11 The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.

 

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Top Twelve Must Have Books for Freelance Libraries

Every writer needs a well stocked library of How-To books. I have most of these in my personal library and many more. It is important that you have the resources at hand to write well.

The first two books reference hundred’s of periodicals, books and other areas that are looking for writers.  This information is constantly changing so check out websites and read submission guidelines carefully before submitting.

Christian Writer’s Guild by Jerry B Jenkins (Tyndale)

 

Writer’s Market (Writer’s Digest)

 

The next two volumes s teach the basics of writing and the nuts and bolts of submitting,

      An Introduction to Christian Writing by Ethel Herr (ACW)

 

               Starting Your Writing Career as a Freelance Writer  by Moira Allen (Allworth)

The rest of the list references proper use of grammar, formatting and punctuation and how-to books on query and proposal writing.  Most editors, agents and publishers want to see your idea before they ask for your manuscript.

Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript by Chuck Danbuchino and the editors of Writer’s

 

Digest Books (Writer’s Digest) (Lots of illustrations in this book.

 

The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style edited by Robert Hudson (Zondervan)

 

The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters by Wendy Burt (Writer’s Digest)

 

Book Proposals That Sell  by W. Terry Whalin (ACW)

 

The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. & E.B. White (Allyn & Bacon)

 

Getting the Words Right: 39 Ways to Improve  Your Writing by Theodire A. Reese Cheney (Writer’s Digest)

These are the top twelve recommended by many successful writers.  I am always pursuing through writing craft books to see what new thing to add to my library. I have some in my Kindle. I printed off a few downloads as well. When a writer stops learning his writing gets stall.

What books are in your writer’s toolbox?