Updated: Aug 17, 2021
I stared at the document for several minutes, questioning every word, every transition, every formatting choice, and character. Did I develop the story enough? What about every mistake I made? Am I really a good writer or are people just saying that to be nice? I vividly remember this feeling last summer when I decided to write another sequel in the Absolution Series because it was a familiar feeling.
To be a writer is to feel doubt and fear failure. This is also what it means to be human.
In my last post, I alluded to this feeling and it remains to this day. It does not matter how many degrees I have, awards received, or positive feedback, I will always doubt myself as a writer. To embrace this is not to accept insecurity and failure, but instead to understand what failure as a construct truly is in our society.
For many of us, failure is about control. Failure makes us vulnerable because oftentimes we fear failure when we put ourselves out there and take a chance. The fear creeps in when we try something new, think critically and embrace new perspectives, or simply accept that maybe uncertainty is the best we’ve got at the moment. As a writer, failure is a complicated thing because hearing “no” is just part of the gig. It is why it took me so long to publish Absolution: Book One. I was more afraid of failing than I was at never having my story heard. I’d rather sit on the stories I’d already written and let the characters play out in my head and on paper privately than deal with the fear of failure.
However, the pandemic put many factors of my life in a new perspective and one was that we must embrace the moments we have on this earth. We can only control what we can control. I have control over my choices out in the world and I control what I share…for the most part. I will save my rant about the digital world, social media, and A.I.’s grasp on our souls for a different post. But, I realized I can control what I want to contribute to the world and the truth is, I love to write.
I love to create new worlds in my mind and then share them with others. I love to escape into a new universe far-reaching and everlasting. I have always wanted to give back to the fandoms and communities that continue to serve me so well over the years because fandom is love and belonging. For a very long time, I let fear of failure stop me from doing that. I realized over time that I felt in control of my destiny by not publishing. Sure, not publishing meant never getting to animatedly talk about my characters with others or discuss the canon, but at least that was my choice…right? I chose to keep these characters to myself. At least that is what I thought was happening. The truth was that fear had such a tight vice on my brain that I couldn’t get past it. I was so afraid of failing that it felt better to never try at all. To try meant to put my story out there in the world to be judged and criticized. It meant relinquishing control and letting my story speak for itself.
Obviously, failure did not win out, but it still lingers and lets doubt seep in. The truth is that failure is a social construct. You cannot fail at what you never hoped to realistically succeed, no matter what society may demand from you, and it is not failure as long as you try with all your might. All I have ever wanted is to share my story with others. I have done that in so many shapes and forms already. This one just so happens to include a more personal story than in the past.
To be a writer is to feel doubt and fear failure. Writing is hard because…well…it just is. It is subjective and fickle and mentally draining. Funny how that can also describe the human experience. So, we push forward. Take the chance. Relinquish the tight vice you have on control. Of course, you should always plan and be realistic about expectations, but never let fear and doubt win.
Well, that’s all I wanted to say about that. It is time to get back to writing in the world of Anderson. Joanie and Chris have me quite occupied at the moment. I hope you are being awesome humans and putting yourselves out there. Embrace what makes this life joyous for you. Remember, choose love. Choose duty. And who knows, maybe if we do it together, we can all save this world of ours as well.