Category Archives: Fear

Insecure Writers’ Support Group: typo-phobia

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“Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!” Alex J Cavanaugh

It’s time for this month’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group post! Can you believe that? September just flew by. Some lovely friend on Facebook tells me that Christmas is only eighty-two days away. Gah! Add another 18 days to that and you’ve got the due date for my baby. That means I’m going to be a Mum in about one hundred days. Oh my goodness!!!

So anyway, some exciting news for you. Yesterday, I received five proof copies of The Big Smoke, so I got to experience the thrill of seeing my writing in a physical book for the first time. Such an awesome experience! (In case you’re wondering, I ordered five copies to spread the America-Australia shipping costs and to have some hard copy ARCs up my sleeve). Mark, my thoughtful husband, video-taped the experience so I could share it with you:

Unfortunately, about sixty seconds after Mark pressed stop on the recorder, he uttered those words no author wants to hear: ‘There’s a typo.’

‘Haha, good on you,’ I said, confident he was joking.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t. As you would expect, I’d checked the final manuscript over and over again, scouring it for any errors. But I hadn’t been quite so fastidious with my final electronic book proof, which includes the ‘About the Author’ and ‘With Thanks’ sections that were never part of the manuscript. And sure enough, on the ‘About the Author’ page (which is the FIRST page of the book), I’d typed ‘thier’ instead of ‘their’ (in a sentence I’d changed at the very last minute). NOOOOO……

Thankfully it was identified at the proof stage, right? Crisis averted! But as a result, I’m now paranoid that the story itself is littered with typos that both I and my copy editor have somehow overlooked. I’ve given two proof copies away to people to read, under strict instruction that they’re to let me know if they spot any errors. So they will share the blame if any suckers slip through!  😉

I know that, at the end of the day, a couple of typos in a book of more than 130,000 words is not the end of the world, but the perfectionist in me is losing sleep over it. What if it’s not just one or two that have slipped through? I wonder as I lay in bed. What if there are ten in there? As a reader that would drive me crazy, and I’d lose respect for the author. What if I become one of those authors even though I’ve tried so hard?

And then I say to myself, ‘Get over it, Cally. You’ve tried your best, and that’s the beauty of self publishing – if there are errors, you can go back and fix them at any point.’

I’m trying to listen to that logical voice. Honestly, I am. But if you pass me in the street and notice that I’ve developed a facial tic, it’s probably a side effect of my latest ailment: typo-phobia. Ahh, the joys and woes of an insecure writer…

In other news, I’ve nailed down another few planks in my social platform, creating my very own Goodreads author profile and Facebook author page. Like me, friend me, follow me, make me feel loved! 😀

Your turn

What do you think when you read typos in a published novel? How many will you put down to ‘mistakes happen’ before it affects your view of the author/publisher? If you’re a published author, have you learnt of typos in your own work? If so, what did you do?

P.S. Don’t forget to support other insecure writers!

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Filed under Fear, Insecure Writers Support Group, Self publishing, Writers, Writing

Insecure Writers’ Support Group: review-phobia

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

“Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!” Alex J Cavanaugh

It’s time for this month’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group post! I’m going to preface this post by re-stating one of the key reasons the blog-father, Alex J Cavanaugh, founded this support group:  “Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak.”

So no teasing! Cos I’m about to tell you one of my real, genuine fears.

Now that I’ve decided to indie publish my first novel The Big Smoke, I’m faced with the fact that people everywhere around the world will be able to purchase my writing and then tell everybody else what they think about it. That’s AWESOME but it’s also FREAKING TERRIFYING.

I fear that, soon after The Big Smoke is released, my Amazon page will be swamped with bad reviews by people who absolutely hated my book.

Thumbs down

Bad, bad, bad.

Now, I know that bad reviews are par for the course. I know that every book is bound to get a few negative reviews in its time. But what if they come first? What if the very first reviews that appear on my Amazon page all say my work is rubbish? Then no one else will give it a chance – including the people who just might love it.

Don’t get me wrong. I have confidence in my writing. I do. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have decided to put it out there. But that confidence doesn’t negate the fear. And I think indie publishing perhaps makes that fear a little stronger. If I had the tick of approval from a publisher, I don’t think I’d be as concerned about reviews. But for indies, reviews really are the make or break. Hence, the fear.

I know a lot of you reading this have published your own work – either traditionally or independently. Did you fear bad reviews too? Have you had any? I don’t mean luke warm, I mean reviews where the reviewer seems to believe your fingers should be chopped off so you can never write another word. Any advice on how to quell those nerves?

P.S. Don’t forget to support other insecure writers!

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Filed under Creativity, Fear, Insecure Writers Support Group, Self publishing, Writers, Writing

Insecure Writers’ Support Group: perfecshunism

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

"Let's rock the neurotic writing world!" Alex J Cavanaugh

It’s time for this months Insecure Writers’ Support Group post!

I have a bit of a problem, and I have a feeling I’m not alone. I have a feeling this problem is shared by many writers. So here it is… I want everything I write to be perfect. No errors. See, the onley reason I feel comfortable with this going live is becuase I figure you’ll cotton on to what Im doing.

But what about you? DOes this post make your eyes bleed? How would you feel if you discovered that a post you’d published had multiple errors in it? would you be horrifyed? would you be worried what the people who’d read it thought of you? I would. Because writing is what I (try to) do best. Writing is my profesion – both paid and unpaid.

But maybe my fears are a little OTT. I mean, I’ve read posts with errors in them before. I noticed them, sure, but I didn’t assume the author was a terible writer. I just assumed they were in a bit of rush that day and hadn’t been as thorough as they could have been.

What do you think when you see errors in a post? Do you write off the author (pardon the pun)? Or just assume they were in a hurry?

SHould I be as paranoid as I am about making mistakes? Are you? Any tips on how to get over the fear (other than write a post riddeled with them)? 😉

P.S. Don’t forget to support other insecure writers!

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Filed under Creativity, Fear, Insecure Writers Support Group, Writers, Writing

Insecure Writers Support Group: procrastination

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

"Let's rock the neurotic writing world!" Alex J Cavanaugh

It’s time for this month’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group post! First one for 2012 – whoop whoop! 🙂

I have a confession to make. Lean in so I can whisper it in your ear. That way, not everyone will hear. Okay, here goes…

I’m a procrastinator.

Phew, feels so good to just put that out there.

Now let me explain. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I am a hard worker, both at work and with my writing. But I don’t necessarily always expend my energy in the right places. If something seems particularly hard, I’ll put it off and keep myself busy with other tasks. For example, when writing, I might edit an existing scene rather than plough ahead and write the tricky scene that I’m not quite sure how to handle. And at work, I might file my emails or do my time sheets rather than start brainstorming how to write a difficult report.

And while I’m putting off that difficult task, I’m usually worrying about it in the back of my mind, building it up to be even harder than it is in reality. Quite often, once I get my act together and start the tricky task, it turns out to be not nearly as hard as I’d imagined. Which makes me wonder why I ever put it off in the first place!

So I’m making a New Year’s resolution: no more procrastinating. Whenever I realise that I’m putting something off, I will call myself on it and tackle the task. Bring it on, I will say! So that’s the plan. Feel free to ask me in a few months how I’m going with it, because I may need a friendly reminder every now and again! 🙂

How about you? Are you a procrastinator? How do you stop yourself from putting things off? Have you set yourself any writing-related New Year’s resolutions? (or non-writing-related ones, I’m interested in those too!)

P.S. Don’t forget to support other insecure writers!

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Filed under Fear, Insecure Writers Support Group, Procrastination, Writers, Writing

Insecure Writers Support Group: rejection

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

"Let's rock the neurotic writing world!" Alex J Cavanaugh

It’s time for this month’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group post!

Something that feeds many writers’ insecurities is rejection. Whether that rejection comes from an agent, a publisher, or even a beta reader (in the form of highly negative comments), it always hurts and can make us question whether we’re cut out for this writing caper.

As much as rejection sucks, it’s pretty much inevitable that every writer will experience it at some point in their journey. In fact, most published authors were rejected by publishers before they were accepted. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel a little better when I hear that best selling books by authors like J K Rowling and John Grisham were rejected multiple times – not because I’m sadistic, but because it reminds me of the subjectivity of the reading experience. Just because one person (agent, publisher, reader) doesn’t connect with my work doesn’t mean others won’t. And it also doesn’t mean my work is rubbish (although it may mean that it needs more work).

If you’d like to read more about big name authors’ battle scars, check out this awesome post Ann Riley wrote for Aimee Salter’s The Write Life. It definitely helped me to put things in perspective, and I plan to revisit it whenever I feel glum about my own rejections!

P.S. Don’t forget to support other insecure writers!

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Insecure Writers Support Group: war against fear

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

"Let's rock the neurotic writing world!" Alex J Cavanaugh

It’s that time of the month again! Oh, hang on – I just realised how wrong that sounds. Let me clarify. It’s time for this month’s Insecure Writers Support Group. If you’d like to learn more about the group, you’d be best to visit Alex J Cavanaugh’s blog. After all, the group is his brain child.

For this month’s Insecure Writers Support Group, I decided to be lazy clever and re-post something I wrote about six months ago that I think will resonate with fellow insecure writers. So, without ado, I bring to you…

Writers go to war: against fear

The_Scream

Fear personified...

Fear has many weapons in its arsenal. It makes your heart pound, your palms sweat, your skin prickle. It makes you shiver, feel nauseous, become light headed.  It shortens your breath, curdles your stomach, disrupts your sleep, scatters your thoughts…

But the most dangerous weapon at fear’s disposal? Its ability to make you doubt yourself and tempt you to give up…

The good news: writers are fighting back against fear.  How? By exposing fear’s nasty tricks and demonstrating how they, personally, have defeated it.

Veronica Roth has outed her fear demons on her blog, revealing she suffers with anxiety about whether her writing will please some key people whose opinion she cares about. But she has also declared that she doesn’t want to be a writer ruled by fear. She is determined not to consult her fear when she makes decisions, in life and in writing.

To me, that’s courageous. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.’

Veronica is not the only one persisting in the face of fear. Ali from Aliventures admits she gets scared whenever she tackles something new. For a long time, Ali thought that meant she was a coward. But over the years, she’s realised it’s incredibly normal to be afraid.

Ali believes that when tackling fear, you shouldn’t try to convince yourself you’re not afraid. Instead, accept that you’re scared. Don’t dwell on it, just acknowledge it. And then do it (whatever it is that scares you) anyway.

Ali’s strategy mirrors Nicole McDonald’s (from Damsel in the Dirty Dress) philosophy in life: ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’ This damsel has been struggling with writer’s block but has slowly but surely been defeating it.

I’m fighting fear too, all the time. And right now, I’m winning. I’m [updated] over two thirds of the way through a major edit of my novel-in-progress The Big Smoke, receiving feedback from beta readers on the first two thirds, and enjoying the whole experience (most of the time!).

How about you? – are you a writer fighting fear? How are you going with it? What strategies do you use? Let’s share our tools and win the war between writers and fear for good.

P.S. Don’t forget to support other insecure writers!

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The weight of great expectation

Anxiety

Click image for source

11.15pm, 25 August 2009

I lie in bed and try to get to sleep, but it’s no use. My mind is swirling. What was I thinking when I decided to completely re-write my 100K novel from third person to first person and cut out several characters? Didn’t I realise how long it would take? I’ve already been working on it for eight months and have barely managed to get through one-fifth. There’s no way I’m going to meet my self-imposed first-draft deadline of the end of the year. And what if I spend all this time on it and the original ends up better than the re-written version?

I order my mind to shut off. Tomorrow is my first day back at work after a holiday and I don’t have time for this. But I didn’t achieve nearly as much over the holiday as I’d hoped. And if I can’t even make good progress while I’m on holiday, there’s no way I’ll be able to do better while working full time. This is pointless, the book will always be crap no matter how much work I put into it, so why am I even trying?

Tears build in my eyes and before I can stop them, they roll down my cheeks. My husband wakes up and looks over.
    ‘What’s wrong?’ he asks, his voice thick with sleep.
    ‘It’s my book,’ I tell him, knowing how silly it sounds but unable to stop myself. The words pour out and by the end of the conversation, we’ve agreed that if the novel is causing me so much stress, I should put it aside. Take the learnings and apply them to a new book – maybe.

I stick with this decision for a month. But it gnaws at my heart and lines my stomach with disappointment. I’ve felt like this before – eight years ago, when I turned my back on the uni drama course that I’d been hoping to get into throughout all of high school.

When the going got tough, I gave up. And I haven’t gone back to acting since. Is that what’s happening here? I wonder. Am I giving up on my writing because of one rough patch?

I think about all the time I’ve put into the novel, and into the re-write. Despite my anxiety, I know this version is better than the last. If I give up, the last eight months have been wasted. Two unappealing choices lay before me – persist with the drudgery of the re-write or revert to the original (crappy) version.

But why has the re-write become such drudgery? Writing the first version was exhilarating, so why have things changed so dramatically?

The more I think about it, the more I realise the difference – it’s the weight of great expectation. I’m writing what is essentially a first draft, but I’m expecting it to be as word-perfect as a final draft. Plus I’ve set myself a ridiculous timeframe. And the only person applying this pressure… is me.

So, after much angst and internal debate, I decide to re-open that document. But, before I do, I create a list of rules that must be read each time I sit down to write:

  • This is your hobby, so let yourself enjoy the process.
  • It desn’t have to be perfect the first time.
  • The only deadines are the ones you set yourself.

Slowly but surely, I make progress. And you know what? Somewhere along the way, I start enjoying myself again. And when I reach the final scene, I’m not just enjoying the journey, I’m loving it. This post will attest to that.

So am I glad I didn’t give up? Abso-bloody-lutely. I’m so proud of what I’ve written (even though it needs a major edit), and so proud that I didn’t let my anxiety stop me from doing what I love.

How about you? How do you feel about your writing at the moment? If it’s become painful and arduous, it’s worth asking why. Perhaps you’re letting your expectations, perfectionism or fear overshadow why you started writing in the first place.

If you’re like me, you many not be able to silence that Fear Voice completely. You know, the one whispering (or shouting) that your writing is terrible, that you should give up before you embarrass yourself… But just because that voice is there, doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. Feel free to tell it where to go, and then go about proving it wrong.

 Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.”  Unknown

 Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”  Nelson Mandela

 Feel the fear and do it anyway.”  Susan Jeffers

 “I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time.” Anna Freud

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Filed under Fear, Tangled, Writing

Writers go to war – against fear

The_Scream

Fear personified...

Fear has many weapons in its arsenal. It makes your heart pound, your palms sweat, your skin prickle. It makes you shiver, feel nauseous, become lightheaded.  It shortens your breath, curdles your stomach, disrupts your sleep, scatters your thoughts…

But the most dangerous weapon at fear’s disposal? Its ability to make you doubt yourself and tempt you to give up…

The good news: writers are fighting back against fear.  How? By exposing fear’s nasty tricks and demonstrating how they, personally, have defeated it.

Veronica Roth has outed her fear demons on her blog, revealing she suffers with anxiety about whether her writing will please some key people whose opinion she cares about. But she has also declared that she doesn’t want to be a writer ruled by fear. She is determined not to consult her fear when she makes decisions, in life and in writing.

To me, that’s courageous. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.’

Veronica is not the only one persisting in the face of fear. Ali from Aliventures admits she gets scared whenever she tackles something new. For a long time, Ali thought that meant she was a coward. But over the years, she’s realised it’s incredibly normal to be afraid.

Ali believes that when tackling fear, you shouldn’t try to convince yourself you’re not afraid. Instead, accept that you’re scared. Don’t dwell on it, just acknowledge it. And then do it (whatever it is that scares you) anyway.

Ali’s strategy mirrors Nicole McDonald’s (from Damsel in the Dirty Dress) philosophy in life: ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’ This damsel has been struggling with writer’s block but has slowly but surely been defeating it.

I’m fighting fear too, all the time. And right now, I’m winning. I’ll share my own personal battle in a separate post later this week, but for the moment, I’m interested in hearing from you – are you a writer fighting fear? How are you going with it? What strategies do you use? Let’s share our tools and win the war between writers and fear for good.

P.S. Don’t forget about the Power of Tension Blogfest that Rachel Morgan and I are hosting from 23-27 May!

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