Wednesday, February 4

Writing is Scary Business

Just after bebe's second birthday, RadioMan and I took her to a drive-through animal park. It's filled with llamas and deer, longhorn cattle, buffalo and even a yak and the Scottish Highland...something or other. And there are camels and giraffes and zebras, too. She loved it. From inside the car. Looking through the glass she was as brave as any safari goer has ever been. And then we rolled down the windows and the elk moved a little closer and the deer stood up on their hind legs and...

Chaos. She was petrified the animals would 1)come in the car 2) eat her for lunch or 3) some combination of those two events. No amount of cajoling calmed her down. Those animal heads at the window were just too big for her little hands. Up the windows went and we kept driving around (this particular park has a 3 mile loop you drive). And a funny thing happened. The bigger animals stayed at the front entrance - where everyone had plenty of grain and carrots for them to eat. The crowd thinned. All that was left were a few baby deer, a buffalo calf and a few zebra. We rolled down the windows and the hadn't-learned-to-beg-or-steal well-behaved baby animals kept a little distance from the truck cab. She held out a carrot. A baby deer licked her as he ate it. She held out a cup of grain. The buffalo calf snorted (YUK, says mommy) on her...and ate it.

Pretty soon, she was leaning out the windows, offering up more treats and giggling as another animal licked her or 'talked' to her.

These days all we have to do is mention the animal park and she's ready to go. No fear. Until we hit that front gate and the giant elk-heads some looking for their treats. She may be used to them now - no screaming, yay! - but she still won't feed those big animals.

I've been thinking about that lately, how fear is something we can learn to control...or at least live with. Writing is scary business, but then, so is life. We don't know what's around the corner in our lives. We could get married or divorced. Lose a loved one or gain a new friend. We could get that promotion at work or walk in to find our job made redundant. Life is scary, so why wouldn't writing be just as scary?

Writers open our hearts and lives - to some extent - for everyone to look inside and poke around. Yes, we write fiction but the emotions we write about are, in many cases, more relevant and real than the watered down, microscopic inspection of how our culture works. Meeting new author always makes me wonder - will they like me? Release days are exciting but a little piece of me asks - will readers 'get' my story? Will they like me? Will the reviewers? Will my editor buy another book from me?

Whatever way you write it, writing is scary business. My best advice? Embrace the fear. Step out on that blank page and start writing...you may get licked by a fuzzy tongue that feels gross. But you may also get a cuddle from the cutest, smallest baby deer...and wouldn't that be a lovely way to end the day?

How about you? How do you face the fear of a blank page, query letter or submission?

5 comments:

  1. A great post, Kristi. I think the only real fear I have left is of the dreaded synopsis, and oh, boy, is that a real one! LOL.

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    1. yeah, the synopsis is always a scary thing!

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  2. What a lovely post. Your daughter's response to those furry beasts was perfect. Take small bites, or tiny steps, until you feel confident. Writing doesn't scare me at all, but being a author scares me like nothing else. I can work myself into a frenzy on release day, or going to a conference. :) Before I got published I'd go to conferences with no fear and have a blast. Now, not so much.

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    1. thank you for coming by, Robena...glad you enjoyed the post!

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  3. Licked by a fuzzy tongue. Oh, to be a writer....Great post, Kristi!

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