For years I thought I was afraid of success. I knew that if I ever hit it big with my books, things would change and not necessarily in a good way. Sure the money would be nice, but my writing would change.
Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy but when my Redaction series started taking off, that's exactly what happened. I sat down to write and froze. Could I capture the magic that people loved and hated? Would my new fans keep coming back or would the next book suck eggs? Then there were all the reviews that told me exactly what I'd done wrong. All of these thoughts and tons more played over and over in my mind like a song stuck on repeat.
When the New Year arrived, I decided to see if there were tips to overcome my fear of success.
After perusing many blogs by experts on the web, I came to realize something I had known all along. I'm not afraid of success, I deserve all the success I've received and hopefully will continue to earn more in the future.
I've had 4 small presses take a chance on me and my writing. Editors remember me and my stories.
I am a damn good and talented storyteller.
Some people love my writing; others will always hate it.
To polarize folks in such a matter means I'm doing my job--touching something inside people for better or worse.
For ten years I wrote for a pittance, earning roughly 50 dollars a year on multiple books and presses. My dad asked me why I bothered to write for so little. I told him one day I'd be discovered, one day someone somewhere would hold a class about my writing. I didn't want to hit the NY Times bestseller list, I wanted to have mattered, to have made a difference in someone's life.
Since self-publishing my languishing books, I have accomplished just that. Practically every week I get contacted by someone about my books and questioned as to why they're so different.
And that reason is my real fear, the one that has me playing hundreds of games of fishdom instead of writing.
I immerse myself totally in the world I'm writing. I think like the characters, my syntax changes and my posture changes. It is a possession that has me fearing that I will be lost somewhere in the mix. I know that I'm not the same when I write the end.
And that's the crux of the matter.
I had thought to be in control of the worlds I build, the characters in my head. Instead, they control me and I'm not comfortable with it.
But I have to learn to adapt.
Because that connection with my characters bleeds onto the page. My readers connect with it and it sucks them in. From the flutter of love to the dark corners of the soul that scare the bejabbers out of me, I have to lead where I expect my readers to follow. I have to be changed by the events if I want my readers to remember my stories.
To do anything less means I need to hang up my keyboard.