Fear has a powerful ability to cease up the creative mind. Not only in doing our work itself, but what we do with it after it’s finished– or as finished as we can make it. I’ve known many people who had very strong, solid work, and it was ready– or as ready as it could be– to make its journey into the world. Submitted, queried, what have you. Time to send it out the door.
And yet they won’t. Because of a fear of rejection.
I totally get it. Showing your work to people is terrifying. But if you don’t embrace that fear, jump off the ledge, nothing will happen.
But it’s good to feel it, and push through it.
The other day, I saw an interview with Robert Rodriguez (director of Desperado, Spy Kids, Sin City and many, many other things) where he talked about fear. Non-quote from memory:
“When I’m afraid of what I’m doing, that’s when I’m on the right path. And whenever I’m thinking, ‘Bah, I know exactly what I’m doing!’, that’s when I fuck up.”
There is something to be said for fear of screwing up. Lord knows, writing Way of the Shield*, it’s kept me on my toes. There is no sense of, “Hey, I’ve written three** novels, I can do this like that.” Because that’s just not true. I’m constantly barraged by thoughts of, “What am I doing here? Can I pull this off? I’m screwing this up, aren’t I?” But even with that fear, I drive through.
Because that’s the only way it gets done.
*- I’m even afraid of the title. The only other one I have is Dayne of the Tarian Order, and I’m not crazy about that. Anything?
**- Really, five. But two are terrible and staying in the drawer FOREVER.