This is the fifth post in my Fear Stages in Writing series, where I explore the stages of writing and the way fear hits it. It’s my theory that most of these fears have their roots in childhood, and our inner two year old is the best cure for them!
This is the series so far:
1. the introduction
2. first draft-itis
5. submitting / self-publishing
This week’s topic is rejection and acceptance. Here are the questions from the introduction to this series.
• Do you dump the story immediately when it is rejected?
• Do you think you are worthy of the sale?
• Do you fear the reader’s comments?
Funnily enough, a lot of people fear acceptance as much or even more than they fear rejection. It probably distorts their fear-based worldview. For most writers, though, rejection is the deepest fear they have. Here are two ways that fear uses to interfere with your writing.
People don’t like me
Back when you were a child you probably were rejected by your friends, or you felt like that when they played with someone else and not with you. Your shadow child (aka the root of your ego) loves to bring up that feeling whenever your story is rejected.
Rejection, however, doesn’t have anything to do with you. Just your story. Your story is a byproduct of what you love to do: writing. It has to find its way in the world and if it needs 100 rejections and rewrites to be perfect, then so it is. Just keep doing what you love and keep sending your stories out into the world to find their way. And love yourself enough to keep pushing your stories out there.
They will see how bad I am
You dread the acceptance you have just received. You feel you should celebrate and be out there shouting off the rooftops that you are now a published writer. Instead you cower away in your writing room and are afraid to stick your nose outside the door in case people are there with rotten tomatoes.
Realize this: you are not your story. Your story was born from your mind and it was penned down by you. It got arms, legs, and feet, and you kicked it out into the world long enough for it to get published. That’s cool. Anything that happens after it is out of your control. It’s on its own little roller coaster. And what if people don’t like it? Well, you don’t like every story ever written in the world, right?
Neither do your readers.
Inner two year old to the rescue!
So what do you do when you are hit with major fears when you receive a rejection or acceptance? Ask your inner two year old for help, of course!
- Go write something new and exciting. You can’t do anything about the story that is out there finding its way in the world other than rewriting a little after you receive comments about it. You can do something about a new story! What would you love to write? Write your loves list about your new story first (see: the first draft-itis post for more on that)
- Go create something. Nothing kicks the fear-bug away like doodling or creating something completely new
- Write a story about the worst things fear can do to you now. Stop when you giggle like mad or when you have a story that you could get published in a horror magazine.
- Make up ways to spend the money you have earned from the sale of the story that gives you tremendous joy.
- Do anything other than writing. Something you truly hate to do. Then go back to your desk and realize you LOVE to sit there and create stories.
Next time I will post the last installment of this series: Marketing. It is one of those topics where fear really likes to come in and slap me around the head. So this will be tremendous fun!