I’ve been dealing with fear a lot lately.
As I’m sending out query letters for my novel, I’m pushing into new territory, places that stretch me, that put me in that uncomfortable place. I like comfortable places. I like to be warm and cozy and safe, not lost and freezing and naked.
But as I’m moving through the fear I’m finding out things, interesting things. Yeah, I’m scared of being rejected - both personally and my writing. I knew that. And I thought that was it. I thought that was the BIG THING that terrified me.
But as I’m looking at this head on and doing it anyway, I’m figuring out it’s not just that. What I’m most scared of is losing my “thing”. Writing has been my “thing” for awhile now. Something I love. A hobby. Not just a hobby, a passion. And an identity too.
To be published is a long held dream. And the scary part is losing that dream.
Imagine there’s this person you’ve been crushing on. For awhile. There’s something between you - you think, you hope - but you don’t know for sure.
The minute you say something “So what’s up with us? Do you dig me like I dig you?" Well, that’s the moment the dream comes true. Or the dream is over. Finished. Done.
It’s easier, it’s safer, to never open your mouth and risk it. If you keep it in the maybe position, there’s always a chance, at least in your own mind, that it might happen. But if you put it out there, well that chance might go away. And now you’ve got nothing. You’re at zero.
And that’s my biggest fear - not having my big dream as an option anymore. Being at zero. Being at “what now?”
Because I don’t know “What now?”
I’d like to say I’d troop on and write another novel and do it all over again. That sounds like the girl scout thing to say. But I don’t know.
Let me get real here. There is a risk-reward equation to consider. Writing a novel (and re-writing it until it’s good) is a big time sink. And being a writer isn’t just the writing - it’s reading books about writing, taking writing classes, spending time with writing partners and the writing community, and reading lots of books and staying in touch with what’s going on in the publishing industry. To do all this, and then face the .05% chance of getting published? If I’m going to be a realist, I have to question whether I want to invest more of my life in it.
In spite of how much I love writing, I don’t know if I’d do this all over again. I don’t know yet. And so I’m a train going into a dark tunnel, not sure what’s on the other side of all this.
I’m scared of that darkness, that unknown, being stripped of a dream, of an identity. I’m scared of emptiness and uncertainty.
I’ve always wanted to have something in my life that is “my thing” - a passion, a driving force, a creative spark, the thing that makes me, “me”. And as a mom, that’s become even more important to me. I adore my son, but I want to have my own life too.
The possibility of losing that shakes me. So this is a year of my life where I need faith.
I don't need unmerited optimism. I don't need to believe that my dreams will all come true. Just faith that it will all be okay no matter what. Faith that if I do end up at zero, that something new and good will grow out of that, even if I have no idea what it is.