I Am Afraid

***Just a bit of a warning to let everyone know this post is going to be writing related today.***

As most of you know by now, I love almost anything horror related. Despite said love of horror, little of the genre generally frightens me. This may have something to do with me watching horror movies at a very young age. Then again, maybe I’m just weird.

What am I afraid of?

A psycho killer in a hockey mask, carrying a machete? No, he’s a big mama’s boy.

A possessed Good Guy doll who wants to be my friend until the end? Nope. Try again.

What am I afraid of? In a word: success.

Failure is easy. You get up and you move on. If you can’t get up you crawl. If you can’t crawl you fight for every inch–always moving forward.

You see, I’ve spent much of this past year writing some of this, some of that, and oh yeah, that over there too while BSD is on submission with a few small presses. It’s been a nice distraction from wondering if my hard work will finally bear any fruit. Part of my reluctance to commit to any new manuscript is not wanting to get wrapped up in a new project only to have BSD get accepted by one of those presses. I’d have to stop writing what I was concentrating on and change focus over night. Although I would obviously welcome BSD finding a home, dropping whatever project I was knee deep in would be tough.

I’m the kind of writer that likes to give everything I have to whatever project I’m working on. I don’t like to juggle multiple stories at the same time. It’s funny how this is exactly the situation I’ve created.

And part of my problem is that I believe in BSD so much that I feel dirty for working on something else. It’s like I’m betraying BSD by giving time to another manuscript. Yet I know if BSD fails I must finish another manuscript and go through the submission process all over again.

I’ve done a chapter of one manuscript one day, critiqued for a friend another, worked on some intern stuff the day after that, and wrote a short story the next. I’ve been afraid to let go and leave BSD behind. It’s silly when I sit back and think about it, but I can’t help it.

The good news is I have a zombie short story I really like. I also have a good chunk of a new manuscript done. Plus, I’ve got the first quarter of BSD #2 written as well.

The bad news is I haven’t completed any manuscripts this year…yet. To be honest, I don’t believe I will either. I also don’t believe I’m being productive enough. Shouldn’t I be able to write through anything? Won’t I have to when there are definitive deadlines involved?

Maybe I’m just being a cotton-headed-ninny-muggins.

Many other writers say to write as many manuscripts as it takes until being “discovered.” I guess I’m not like those other writers. I tend to be all in and wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m passionate about BSD. I believe it’s fucking awesome. Many of my critique partners like it too. The rational part of my brain knows I can’t stay in this writing limbo forever. I either have to move forward or fade away into nothingness.

For right now I don’t have an answer. Until I find out the fate of BSD I’ll be hanging out in limbo-land while steadily writing what tickles my fancy from day to day. I may be wrong, but my passion for BSD still burns as hot as it did the day I finished writing it. A literary agent I respect, Sara D’Emic of Talcott Notch, once said, “Don’t settle on a good idea, tweak it until it’s fantastic.” That’s a pretty accurate description of how I feel. I don’t want to settle on another manuscript. I want to create a fantastic piece of fiction. And, right or wrong, I can’t do that until I know the fate of BSD…later this year.

As long as I keep moving forward, even if it’s only an inch at a time, I’m still moving toward my goal of being a published writer.

How about you? Are you afraid of success? Failure? Chucky? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!

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9 comments

  1. I’m afraid of all three of those things – success, failure, and definitely Chucky. And like you, I don’t think I’ve been productive enough this year. It can be hard to really work on a new project when you absolutely love your old one, but I do think to be successful we have to always be working on something. I don’t think we need to give up on our old manuscripts, either, though. There’s no reason they can’t find a home eventually, too – it just might be later than we hope.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for BSD – keep us posted!

    1. Yeah, I’m with you when you say we shouldn’t have to give up on old manuscripts. I know I won’t ever completely give up on BSD. It may have to go into cold storage for a while but I’ll always fight for it. I’m sure you feel the same way about Ms. Loganberry too. 😉

  2. List of things that scare me:

    Success. Dolls, not Chucky, but porcelain dolls and Kewpie dolls, especially the old ones. Ventriloquist dummies(have you seen the old Twilight episode, or the X-Files episode with one of those babies? *Shiver*), and clowns.

    You know how I feel about Follow You Down, and how I’m willing to play with different angles to make it work. I’m invested, definitely. I also have plans down the road to work on the first book I wrote when I started writing again four years ago- it’s called The Binding, and features witches, vampires, and an exorcism that scared the hell out of me writing it. It’s more horror than FYD, and like many first manuscripts, it is more biographical.

    I have concrete ideas for other books, including a YA dark fantasy series titled The Winter Tree Chronicles. Though I haven’t dug in because I really need to stay in the FYD world, the main characters are very present in my head and I doodle notes about the story line from time-to-time. I also have an idea for a YA version of the Jekyll and Hyde story. My brain stays busy, with or without my full consent.

    I understand your fear of success, though I’m behind you in how close I am to touching it. But I have this strong, unrelenting belief in FYD that drives me to keep going, even though life keeps getting crazier and crazier. I feel like as long as I keep digging, I’ll find the heart of the story and I *know* there are readers who are waiting for this story, they just don’t know it yet. And, yes, that kind of unrelenting faith can be daunting sometimes. But- (that word again, haha) I love it at the same time.

    What scares me the most, deep in my soul, is the thought of not writing. I have bad, really bad days, but if I ask myself “What if you just quit?” my heart sinks to my toes and I know it will never happen. It’s my driving, creative force. It’s an undeniable part of me.

    I think you get that.

    As for BSD, I feel that same passionate faith I do about FYD, and it’s not even my story. I know the time will come that I will hold a printed, autographed version in my hands and I may even cry a few tears of happiness for you. I think that’s why we get along so well- we share that passion.

    Also- karma comes back around and Son, you have some devastatingly awesome karma coming back around for you.

    If the time comes when you’re not believing in yourself, I’m there, believing enough for the two of us. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Tonia! I’ll never give up completely on BSD. It’s just hard to move on while there’s still some life left in it. I’ve been trying to keep busy with short stories. For some reason they’ve been spilling out of me lately. Having friends who support you is pretty awesome. Yeah, I’m mean you. 😉

  3. Success. Scary as all hell. I’d not thought about it that way before, but I think you’re right. Then again, for me, personally, I’m scared of the failure more.

    I believe so much in SORB that if I can’t get it picked up then I don’t know what that will do to my confidence. Which, now that I look back at myself, is one of the reasons why I stopped trying. I don’t want to know if it’s not good enough.

    Ugh. But that’s not how to get things done. That’s not how to move forward and learn and grow, right?

    I do hope you’re freed from limbo with regards to BSD soon and that you can take the next steps to continue your writing journey, whatever the outcome. I’ll be checking in regularly. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I should know the fate of BSD soon. I hope SORB finds a home someday, when you’re both ready. I’ll be rooting for you as well. Best of luck. 🙂

  4. I swear I was just agonizing over this last night! *mind stalker*

    I can only work on one thing at a time when it comes to writing. People are like, “oh, work on a short story and take a break from your MS, then go back to it”.
    Yeah that’s me shaking in the corner doing the evil eye and calling a movie-priest to come give you an exorcism.
    While i continue working on my manuscript.

    I give myself 100% to the story I’m working on. True, I record the tons of plot bunnies that come to me and I play around with in my head, but I write them down, think on them, and let them go. When I’m done with my current MS and have sent it out to literary agents, I’ll decide what to write next and then dedicate myself to THAT story. One at a time or none at all. That’s how I roll. Actually, its not rolling, its more like demonic skipping, but hey, rolling can give you indigestion.

    1. Funny thing about the short stories…they just showed up, demanding to be written. Sometimes I don’t know where things come from, I simply scramble to get them out of my head and onto paper.

      We’re very similar on the novel creating front. I find it easier to concentrate on one plot at a time. It helps me fully realize what I want to write that way.

      The short stories have been a creative outlet as I wait to find out BSD’s fate. I still get to create, just in a smaller scope and format. Plus, I get to explore subjects I probably wouldn’t in novel form. So far it’s been a win-win for me. You may want to give it a try sometime…when you’re not rolling around. 😉

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