I received an interesting email in response to one of my recent newsletters, in which I share news about my books and appearances, as well as writing and marketing tips for authors. A subscriber named Sara asked if I could address what she called “the fear of completing the project.”
Talk about hitting the nail on the head, as I suffer from this condition myself. I recently finished the first draft of my fifth novel, and while many of my fans would be surprised to learn this, I experienced low-grade yet near constant anxiety throughout the entire writing process. Why? Because I was afraid of what the reaction to the finished work would be. What if people hated it? What would I do then?
Many authors share their work with trusted readers as they go, then tweak and adjust according to the feedback they get. I don’t use this approach. I write in a vacuum for months, not sharing a page with anyone. When I’m done I turn the final product over to my mom – then hold my breath for her reaction. Yes, it’s a bit terrifying, but it’s the way I write best, so I force myself to trust my ability and power through the fear each day. And if I do that for enough days in a row, eventually I have a book. And then I can relax and let the fun begin, because it’s much easier to revise a manuscript than to create one from scratch.
So Sara, if you’re reading this, I guess that’s my answer. While I recognize that it’s easy to procrastinate out of fear, do your best not to. Just power through it, one day at a time. Believe me, you’ll be happy you did. Eventually you’ll have written an entire book, and that’s a pretty amazing feeling, no matter what happens next.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.