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Friday, December 7, 2012

Facing Fears?




It continues to surprise me when people tell me they see me as a strong person. Many days I feel so far from brave, that if I was a recipe, I’d be one part courage and four parts wimp.

The past year brought many changes—my 60th birthday, “temporary” early retirement, a new job/benefits/coworkers/work schedule/commute. And go ahead and laugh at the next list if you must—a new i Pad, Android phone, cell phone number, and i Pod!

Each of these changes presented its own myriad set of choices and decisions—some simply exciting, others mind-boggling. In the end, they all required me to either adjust my view of my world or—ugh! — change behaviors. And, all of them gave me (the sometimes unwelcome) opportunity to learn new things.

Why do I bring this up now?

Because after years of writing, rewriting, editing, and querying agents, after two derailed offers of representation for my novels, and getting close enough another half-dozen times to have my hopes dashed, I have accepted the reality of today’s topsy-turvy publishing world. If a debut novelist wants to get published, 99.99999% of the time, you have to do-it-yourself.

If you aren’t an aspiring novelist, you may not grasp the fear that strikes in my heart. Learning the inner workings of the publishing business—things like, print fonts, e-pub formatting, front and back matter, interior and book cover design, ISBNs, book marketing and distribution, and some freakin’ thing called metadata! Seriously? What could a 60-year-old non-nerd possibly know about that?

When I started writing creatively 15+ years ago, I thought, “If you write it they will come.” Jeez, was I na├»ve!
If you are familiar with 12 step programs, you know the 4th step is, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” The first time I tried to work step 4, the word fearless made me think I wasn’t ready. Then I heard someone share, “Fearless doesn’t mean without fear, it means with courage.”

OH!

So baby step by baby step, I muster the courage to face my fear and embark on the self-publishing process.

What wisdom can you offer to keep my fears from turning me back?

19 comments:

  1. Remember the joy that you feel while writing and realize that heart attacks are fatal; rejection is not.

    Julie V

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    1. Julie, thanks for the simple and powerful reminder

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  2. Good luck Carol. I look forward to your published works. I know you will succeed <3

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  3. You are a fabulous writer and I can't wait for the world to experience it.
    Plus, I want to brag that I know you.
    Dot

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  4. Hi Carol,
    I'm afraid of most things! But at about 50 I decided I couldn't just stay in the house and stare at a wall and be safe (or at least feel safe). Everything's a challenge! Might as well do what facilitates what we love!

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  5. You have a unique and special voice and deserve to let it be heard. And, as much as possible, don't let the process overwhelm you. step by step is a terrific approach. good luck, carol!

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  6. Congratulations on taking this step! You can do it! And, while you're doing it, I say, befriend your fears, use them to empower you. Remember, sometimes, a little fear can be useful: it makes us look both ways when we cross the street, and check the expiration dates on food before we purchase it.

    When I was in college, I wound up studying with the most venerated pianist in the school. I was terrified of making a fool of myself in front of him and the other students in his master classes. So, I ramped up my practicing so that I would never seem unprepared. The pay-off was enormous. As much as I loved playing, I never would have made the progress I did without that extra motivation.

    So, turn your fears into an asset. They'll help you make your book positively brilliant!

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  7. Mary Frances FoxDecember 07, 2012

    A wise woman once encouraged me with these three words: Do it scared.

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  8. Bravo! Fear can be a great motivator, I agree. Being uncomfortable and stepping over it takes a big heart and strong belief. But I think my biggest surprise of all when I turned 60 is realizing how audacious the idea, that as you get older, things get easier! Like a lifetime of experiences was supposed to somehow reward you with the ability to know "how to do it." Ha!

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    1. Thanks all for your insights and encouragement.

      DOT, how about as a marketing stategy you start bragging now to stir up pent-up interest. If Dot's bragging, it must be a Must Read!

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  9. Let me know when you publish. I'll be in line to buy! I also love the concept "Do it scared."

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  10. Carol,

    There is so much wisdom and encouragement in these comments. Doesn't it make you feel great?

    I like to think that you are starting a new adventure with unknown territory that could give you pause. I believe that what lies ahead will mostly be good things. Just the fact that you are learning a whole new world of information, including why you should care about metadata, is positive.

    I look forward to following your journey.

    Chris



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  11. Agree Chris, great insights. Since posting, i folloewed the advice to do it scared and I wrote and submitted my novel's front and back matter, bought my Ibsn, and named my publishing company . . Drum roll. . . Brilliant Beach Books!

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  12. Agree Chris, great insights. Since posting, i folloewed the advice to do it scared and I wrote and submitted my novel's front and back matter, bought my Ibsn, and named my publishing company . . Drum roll. . . Brilliant Beach Books!

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  13. Carol,

    Just as you taught me, the most difficult part is taking the first step. AND I KNOW there is nothing you cannot do....even this! Both of your books are fabulous and there is not a doubt in my mind that they will be published. How it happens is almost irrelevant! And just think, once you do this.....you will then be the expert to help others. Paving the road again......xoxox

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    1. Janine, I love the image of looking back when I am further down this road and realizing I know something. That image will help me taking baby steps forward

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  14. What made me self-publish was this statement by Bill Cosby, "I want it more than I'm afraid of it." After going through the process I have no regrets and have learned so much for my next novel.

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    1. Thanks Peggy, I hadn't heard that quote and really like it.
      would like to email you about book marketing .
      Is there a contact link on your blogsite? I couldn't find one.

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  15. Carol, you are an inspiration to me, in many ways. I can't wait to see your books in print, and to read the final versions. I try to break down big scary projects into small steps. The more scared I am, the smaller the step I find for myself. But even baby steps move us forward, right? You go, girl!

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