I published this about a year ago on Alex Cavanaugh’s website. If you missed it, here’s a reprise:
Six years ago, when I prepared to publish my first book, I shared my worst fears with blogging buddies. Now as I publish my seventh book, The Quest for Home, I still don’t feel like I have my shine on. Here’s the list of my fears now:
- That I’ll get a bad review on Amazon. You can’t unring that bell. It ruins your averages.
- That I’ll over-think what I’m writing, take myself too seriously. I have to shake it out and start over.
- That my characters come across as shallow–people even I wouldn’t want to know.
- Anton Chekov once warned: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” What if I miss that? What if I miss it twice?
- That I’ll spell ‘siesta’ with an ‘f’–or ‘Freud’ with an ‘a’. How about ‘luck’ with an ‘f’? So much to worry about.
- That I’ll use ‘was’ twelve times on one page and drain the energy out of my story like a leaky boat.
- That I’ll ‘tell’ not ‘show’.
- That my novel will have so many problems, when new ones come along, it’ll take me two weeks before I have time to worry about them.
- That agents will say, ‘There’s a story that didn’t live up to its query letter’.
- That I’ve written a Goldilocks story–not too fast, not too slow, just boring.
- That my writing has more enthusiasm than expertise.
- That my novel will reach a climax and I won’t notice. The corollary to that: I won’t know where the beginning is.
- That I’ll think ‘seriousism’ is a perfectly good noun to use.
As if this list isn’t bad enough, I found a bunch more on Twitter that sounded like me:
- That I’ll start to believe statistics like 83% of new writers don’t get published, or the average American has one testicle and one ovary.
- That I will bury my voice in the effort to ‘follow the right rules’
- That I will turn a world class ending into a mediocre one.
- That my muse will abandon me.
- That even now, the fat lady is singing.
- That my lips will get tired before I finish all the writer’s how-to books I need to read.
- That my woke story will come out stupid.
And here’s my #1 fear and it’s a bit of a conundrum: If I write from my heart and no one reads it, have I really written anything?
How about you? What’s your worst fear?
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Summer 2020. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning