Thursday, January 6, 2011

Give Me Your Best Fears. I Will PWN Them.

In honor of yesterday's post, today I will play therapist/BFF/mom/etc. for anyone who needs a few encouraging-ish words about their fears when it comes to writing. That's right—you have a dilemma? I'm here to listen.

*pours glass of milk*

*slides over plate of cookies*

Get it out, guys. Just get it out. (I will also be opening Anonymous comments for this, if you prefer not to have your name revealed.)

We'll start with a comment from 52 Faces yesterday:
So Natalie, how 'bout _this_ one (cuz you're like the guru and stuff): My fear is that even when I manage to eke out some good writing, I STILL won't get published.
Oh, 52, that is the ultimate fear, isn't it? I wish I could say that if you put in your absolute best it'll work out. But, well, sometimes it doesn't. It might sound cocky, but I know my failed submission book is a good book. Editors said it was a good book! They...just didn't know how to market it.

That is the sucky truth. You could write a good book, and it could still get put in the trunk. I wish I could take that reality away, but I can't.

Here's the thing, though, that I've taken comfort in these past months: It's NOT my fault. I did my best. I followed the rules and revised my little heart out. I got close—close enough that I know it wasn't merit that stopped me, but the market.

I can honestly say that I am proud of that book. When I think about it, it's not "Oh, I should have tried harder and listened to my agent about that one flaw." No, I put in everything I had! I truly did. I have no regrets concerning my own efforts and how I handled the story. It is what I always wanted it to be. I did the best with what I could control in the process.

That, despite the not-so-happy outcome, is rewarding. To this day, it is really my only manuscript I feel comfortable saying is DONE.

So yes, 52, that is a valid fear, but it's no excuse not to give it all you got. Knowing you did your best, that you stayed true to your story, is its own kind of reward.

Alrighty! Let's have a heart-to-heart, shall we? I will be here all day with cookies, comfort food, chocolate, comfy couches, and tissues. We can even watch period dramas if you're into that.


  1. Period dramas sound good to me - an cookies *nomnomnom* I can't really ask any questions cause I'm taking the 'Independent Author' route.. Otherwise there would be a few questions *grin*

    The Arrival on Amazon NOW!

  2. Having one of those writer-fail days today...too tired to connect the letters that make the words that create the paragraphs...well you know.

    To put it in perspective, I first read "period dramas" to mean those Lifetime movies that (I've heard) some ladies like to watch during certain weepier times of the month. Yup. Need sleep.

    Thanks for the cookies~

  3. You already addressed my main fear yesterday (ie., how does one know if one's work is really any good?), so I don't really have anything to add there.

    However, I was wondering... if the main problem in your finished manuscript, the reason publishers won't buy it, is that they don't know how to market it and not that it's not a good piece of work - have you considered self-publishing? Or e-publishing to Amazon or the like?

    The reason I mention it is there was a Canadian (which I am, too, so how I know about it) who tried and tried to sell his manuscript but got no takers. Eventually, fed up, he said "fine, I'll do it myself" and self-published. He actually went the print route, and made sure it got put in his local bookstores and such, went around and did talks for them or at his libraries, etc. Of course, his big break came when he sent his book in to the committee for the Stephen Leacock Humour award, and they ended up shortlisting it (he's now published), which won't happen for everyone. But even without that, he obviously had a good book and while it may have taken a while longer I expect he would still have grown a good audience. And you've already got one ready-made through your blog and friend connections, which could only grow from there...

  4. A few years ago, I fell in with a bad group of writerly people whom I thought were friends but really weren't. They pretty much drained my dry emotionally, and when it was all over, I had neither the desire nor the confidence to write anything. It took two and a half years, but I finally started back writing last June, and even though I keep plugging at it, I can't deny that what I'm putting out post-them is a gazillion times worse than what I was putting out pre-them. I can't even compare the two because it just makes me sick to my stomach. So I'm afraid of:

    1. Always being less than what I used to be

    2. Never being able to completely trust people again, because I'll always be looking for the knife in my back

    3. Success. And failure. At the same time.

  5. I'm one of the "lucky" ones who has an agent and no book deal -- my book has been on sub for an embarrassingly long time. I did what everyone tells you to do, and wrote another book. My agent read it, overall loved it but suggested a few changes and said that if the first one doesn't sell we'll move onto this one.

    I've been sitting on my agent's suggestions for the second book for three months. I promised myself I'd do the rewrite right after the new year but haven't touched it.

    The thing is, what if I finish this book and give it to my agent and this one ALSO doesn't sell? Then basically, I've wasted two years of an agent's time and squandered the biggest opportunity I've ever had in my life.

  6. Can we just marathon anime? I'm still heartbroken Princess Jellyfish is over and a season two is looking unlikely.

    The real ickiness plaguing me is the fact I never got around to finding a critique partner. I feel like I'm missing out on some extra step I could be taking to make my manuscript better.

    As I'm polishing my query letter a small part of me is terrified that even though I had two avid readers and an editor read the ms (and help copy edit the sucker) it's still not good enough. I'm scared of the last experience I had with a critique partner who just brushed everything off as fantastic and left me with no actual criticism. I have no idea how to avoid that again.

  7. Amanda, ha! I don't have Lifetime, but, uh, we could do that too... That's funny. I will always think that now.

    Seabrooke, I have talked about why I choose not to self-publish, but I'll sum it up quick:

    1. I barely have the time to write let alone self-promote and be my own publisher.

    2. I also don't have the money.

    3. It's just not for me. At least right now.

  8. I love that perspective and yes...I feel that way too (about the novel I just shelved). Onward and upward...

  9. Oh, let me count the fears.

    I fear getting dumped by agent or (if I make it this far) an editor and blacklisted from publishing as AN AWFUL WRITER and other writers will think I suck or my favorite author will think I suck and readers will think I suck and everyone will point and laugh at me with my small book that sold (let's pretend I got to the published part) 1 copy to my mother and I will forever be locked out of the publishing world, all hope is lost, I won't even be allowed to QUERY that's how awful I would be...and I would need to change my name and get a new face if I ever had a hope of making a career out of writing...

    *Take deep breath*


  10. Elizabeth, that IS hard. I am so sorry your confidence and trust has been damaged so much. It's something that will probably take a long time to bounce back from.

    But to cover your concerns:

    1. I wholeheartedly believe that you are NOT worse than you were before this bad time. You may be a different writer, but that does not mean bad!

    I have honestly changed as a writer very much in this past year, to the point where a lot of my old stuff seems like it was written by a different person. Neither are bad—just different.

    That's okay! Try to embrace the writer you are now, and always remember Different DOES NOT mean bad.

    2. I've been through a lot of trust issues myself, and it also isn't easy to bounce back from that. You will be on your guard. You will be protective of your work.

    But when someone proves they are trustworthy, I encourage you to take the risk. Actually...this is like a huge theme in Transparent! Ha. It's hard, but sometimes you just have to open up with the knowledge that maybe you'll get burnt.

    3. I'm glad I'm not the only one who fears success:) It can be just as scary! The pressure! The attention! The inevitable criticism!

    But whether it's success or failure, you can't let fear be in charge. At least for me personally, things always turn out better when I act out of courage rather than fear.

  11. I know this is a silly fear, but it still bothers me. I worry that even if I produce something I'm proud of, that's financially successful and that strangers love, the people closest to me won't like it.

    The criticism of strangers doesn't bother me so much, but I hate to think that my closest friends and family would dislike or just not get something very meaningful to me. Because I respect their opinions, they mean a lot to me.

  12. 1. I'm afraid that my first readers (before I look for a publisher) won't be honest about what they think of my work. Specifically, that they will say they like it just to preserve my feelings.

    2. I'm afraid that if they ARE honest, I will be crushed under their criticism.

  13. Anon 10:05, ohhhhh boy do I FEEL you! I'm basically in the exact same situation—almost done with this HUGE edit and terrified to finally send this in to my agent. I think about this constantly.

    But then...what if I don't send it? What if I don't try? Then all this work and all my agent's time will truly be squandered.

    Agents understand that sometimes things don't go as planned—especially in such a tough market. We are so hard on ourselves, but honestly, how much of our agents' time have we really wasted? Not that much. They have PLENTY of stuff to do while we are working and taking our time. They understand that writing is not an overnight process. We need to give them more credit:)

    And as much as I dread sending that second book on sub, it has to be done. Because, really, do we want to be in limbo forever?

    I don't.

  14. My fear: that if I do become a published author, I'll run out of ideas. Silly, I know, but that's what it is... :) And that I'm really just not cut out to be a writer after all...

  15. SM Schmidt, you know I'm a big fan of crit partners, but it also took me a long time to find them! It sounds like you've really worked hard and you've had good readers. I wouldn't be so worried!

    With my first MS? Yeah, I, huh, had my mom and husband read it. I had one friend read my query—a friend who didn't even have a CLUE what a query was.

    So basically, I'm saying you're way ahead of me, hehe.

  16. Lisa, I'm only laughing because I've basically had that SAME EXACT internal conversation with myself.

    You know that's not true. I know it's not true. As hard as this business is, there's always another chance if you have the courage and endurance to take it.

    And, uh, if all else fails, photoshop and a pen name?

  17. Anon 10:19, that, I think, is a harder thing to overcome. I definitely care more about how my crit partners and close friends receive my work than strangers. They are the ones that really matter, right?

    But at the same time, you have to be true to what you write. I, uh, don't always write in the fashion that some of my family members prefer. I tackle topics they are uncomfortable with, or perhaps use language they are surprised by. In my community, I would be considered to be a fairly "gritty" writer in comparison.

    You know what? It has been hard to have some family members be unhappy with my stories for whatever reason. It impacts my confidence far more than a random reader.

    But in the end, I have to stay true to my writing. When I try to conform even to my friend and family expectations, the results are dismal.

  18. Sarah,

    1. This is just not true. I know we are trained to suspect good feedback as false, but crit partners are obligated to be honest. If you do feel like you aren't getting enough "bad" feedback, you may want to seek out tougher/more experienced readers that may provide other povs.

    2. HA. Okay, you might be crushed. I have been crushed many times. It sucks. I wish I had tougher skin, but I can tell you I cried every time my agent sent me a long editorial letter.

    It's so overwhelming! Even when you know they are right.

    But give it time, and the crushed feeling goes away. You get excited to fix it. You see how you can make it so much better.

    Basically, I'm saying it's totally survivable if it does happen.

  19. Dara, luckily ideas take a LONG TIME to come to fruition, so even if you aren't the kind of writer who gets 20 ideas a month, you WILL have ideas. For example, Transparent? One idea—going on almost two years of work here and probably more. How many ideas can I really get in book form before I die?

    I get too many ideas—more than I can possibly write. So, if worse comes to worse, shoot me an email and I'll give you a list of ideas I'll never get to. Then you can take your pick:)

  20. Oh, Natalie... The timing of this post could not be more perfect, but I'm still working out how I want to announce this fear. It may come out on my own blog tomorrow. I'll probably also DM you on Twitter.

  21. You do a good job of pwning all of my fears :D

  22. My biggest fear, which you addressed yesterday, is about worrying I'm not good enough. I have a degree in creative writing, and am a full-time freelance writer. I fear that, one day, I'll wake up and it will all have been a fluke, and I'll have wasted the past 8 years of my life. I'm working on those feelings, though.

    I suppose my next biggest fear is not being able to find an agent. I know they're busy people, and that they get queries upon queries. I'm afraid that I'll be a writer who's perpetually stuck in the slush pile.

  23. Nicole, what is it with women and "not good enough," huh? It kills me. I mean, what IS good enough? What are the criteria? Ugh.

    And nothing is a waste—it all depends on how you choose to look at it.

    Querying can be exhausting, and you can be stuck there forever. Or at least what feels like forever. But the longer I've been around this business, the more I've seen people who "never thought it would happen" become successful.

    It really is a "keep trying" kind of game. Eventually you hit the right opening and things work out. Never how and when you want, but they do!

  24. i have a sort of backwards fear. i know that if i write a book and it doesn't ever get published, i'll be okay with it, but that the family and friends who support me won't see that it's okay. what do i tell them?

  25. Abby, that can be hard to deal with! Now that I have so much support from my family, friends, and even online, I feel a lot of pressure to deliver! I don't want to disappoint them. Sometimes when I get rejections or bad news, it hurts to have to say it over and over, knowing they'll be sad too.

    I think you just have to make it clear that you are happy where you are at. I've learned this year that publishing is cool, but it's not as great as enjoying writing. If publishing takes away from the experience, maybe it's not worth it.

    Don't get me wrong, I would love to be published. But not at all costs. Not anymore. There are more important things.

  26. My fear? I just took a long break from writing. Circumstances made it really difficult to keep up with my writing and still survive my life. Now, things have calmed down and I want to get back to it, but I'm afraid I will never be able to really get back into it again. And if I do get my groove back, what is going to prevent something like this again? Am I really dedicated or talented enough to keep going, no matter what or how long it takes?

  27. Hi Natalie!

    You adressed one of my big fears yesterday (thank you! I really needed to hear that!) but another big fear I have is what do I do when I'm writing a first draft and after only a couple days of working on it, I'm bored with the idea and I want to move on to something else? This fear has plauged me for far too long now: I've started probably hundreds of first drafts, but never FINISHED any (except one and that was back when I was 14-I'm 21 now, yikes)! So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm afraid I'll never finish writing another first draft again. Any advice for resisting the urge to quit and move on to a new story when writing the current one gets tough or boring??

    Thanks a ton!

  28. This is a great post! It's definitely worth saying that only YOU can decide when your work is good enough. If you're happy with it, that's wonderful.

    I think my biggest fear is something Rachelle Gardner addressed on her blog the other day; one of her clients is having her title changed to something she thinks is completely inappropriate for her book, and the cover is apparently equally horrendous. Publisher has said basically this: sorry, but we trump you.

    My own writing? I can control that. But if a publisher chooses an unappealing cover and completely changes my title (to something I hate--I'm totally open to better titles!), then I'd be really disappointed.

    Anyhoo, that's one of those things that really just requires chocolate and hugs, I suppose, but there it is!

    Yay for heart-to-hearts! :)

  29. Kayeleen! Hi! How are you? I remember you:) Welcome back.

    You know, I've taken a lot of breaks this year. Not just a day or two, but full months or more. And each time I definitely had those fears! Will it come back? Will I have forgotten how to write?

    Well, I can assure you that it does come back. BUT, it's not an overnight process. At least for me, it takes extra work to get back in the groove. So don't freak out if it doesn't go smoothly at first! Keep trying. One day, it'll start flowing again.

    All things go in phases. And you won't know if you're dedicated or talented enough unless you keep going:)

  30. The Blogger Girlz, ah, you are being taken in by the new shinies! You must resist the shinies!

    For me, I always get bored or scared or worried around fifty pages written. Or the end of act 1. That's when it starts to turn into work. That's when I just have to dig in and force myself to finish.

    You can finish. You WILL finish if you decide to. Remember that all ideas are good. Are you chasing a "better" idea? Are you avoiding the tough middle parts of your stories? Figure out what the hold up is.

    And if you want, I FORBID you from writing something new until you finish a book.

    I'm serious.

  31. Shayda, that IS scary! It doesn't happen often—at least not from what I've heard/seen—but sometimes publishers do want to take your book in a different direction than you want.

    I'm not sure how I would handle it. On one side, I understand that publishers have intended audiences, and they want to make a book the most appealing they can to that audience. So really, they are trying to give your book the best chance possible.

    At least I hope. This is certainly not my area of expertise.

    But on the other hand, I think it would be hard to accept my book being marketed in a way I didn't picture. It would take a while to get used to that, if ever. I imagine I would feel helpless.

    Unless, well, the book did REALLY well, hehe. Then maybe I wouldn't mind so much!

    It's hard to give up that control for some people. For me, I've never worried about covers and such. I've never really had a definite this-must-be-what-it-looks-like vision.

  32. Someone touched on this earlier, but I think my biggest fear right now is I'll never have an honest opinion on any of my work.

    I have a great critique group with a couple of published authors in it. But I'm starting to get the feeling everyone is just being extremely polite and really only copy editing what we bring in.

    I'm worried my work is mediocre and no one will tell me the truth because they don't want to hurt my feelings.

    The big, whopping, mother-of-all fears is that I'll never know how mediocre I am until I hear it from agents in the form of hundreds of form rejections, which will really REALLY hurt.

    I feel yucky just thinking about it.

  33. TY for opening up anonymous comments for this one.

    I don't know where to start. It sounds horrible, but every time I hear of someone else getting an agent it makes me think THAT'S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN FOR ME. Because I know how horrible the odds are and I've been writing seriously & querying for what feels like a really long time. Longer than a lot of people I know who've recently gotten agents/deals. Lately this seems to have me petrified that it's never going to happen for me, that what I'm writing isn't good enough, that all this time I'm spending on writing should really go towards something else and I should just quit. Only the thing is that I can't quit. I go crazy (legit crazy) when I'm not writing and if I gave up pursuing it as a career I don't know what I'd do. (A friend suggested I just "enjoy writing" while not really pursuing it and focusing more on other things, but even the idea of that doesn't seem possible to me.)

    Before very recently I knew I was a good write. Unpublished, unagented, but GOOD ENOUGH TO BE. Now though I keep second-guessing every word I write and agonizing over scenes that don't seem right and the fact that I seem to be making all those mistakes everyone talks about (adverbs! kitchen scenes!) and probably MY WRITING SUCKS.

    I don't know how to get out of this and I don't know how to feel like I have a chance at this.

    sorry for long comment.


  34. Okay, I don't fear that my book won't be considered the great American novel. No book is, really. The experts argue about The Scarlet Letter, Huckleberry Finn and Moby Dick. But what if my novel never even gets mentioned in that conversation?

    Yeah. Okay seriously: I fear that even if I am successful I won't measure up to the expectations of those whose opinions I value, because it's not serious enough or not literary enough or not successful enough.

  35. For me, I'm afraid that my families and friends won't like my book (as an earlier commenter has said) or, worse, that they think it's "immoral" or something. I've already had one of my sisters tell me my eleven-year-old niece could read my book--as long as I took out the kissing scene, since my character was only fourteen. I think a lot of LDS writers who have a more -ahem- liberal writing style deal with issues like this, and mine wasn't even that bad! What if I want to write an edgy YA contemporary? Have you had to deal with this?

  36. Man, I'm kinda bummed I didn't notice this conversation earlier! Most of my fears have been addressed already, but I'll add two more:

    #1: That my book will get published and then be doomed to be skimmed over in the dollar bargain bin forevermore.

    #2: (and I know this is completely irrelevant and irrational and out of my control, but what if the world came to an end before I got the chance to publish my book? Or, like, on my release day? It keeps me awake some nights.

  37. Alas reading this post so late. Wish I'd gotten to read it earlier. Well, I'll add my fear(s) anyway.

    I'm gonna skip right over the good enough thing. I know that I'll always struggle with it, no matter what.

    Lately, my biggest fear is that I'll only be able to write this one idea. I saw an earlier comment about not having ideas. I don't have that problem so much as having ideas that I'm not sure what to do with. I have lots of ideas actually, but so few of them seem ready to be written about. I've started dozens of stories that I can't seem to find the ending for. What if I never find the ending for them? What if I only ever manage to write this one story?

    Well, that and success and failure, or not finding an agent, or no one actually liking my stories, or so many other things.

    But the one story is my biggest fear at the moment.

  38. Anon 3:15, it seems like a lot of people struggle with taking compliments! Myself included. We are so used to rejection and criticism that positivity is suspect.

    I think that is so sad.

    But if you have a crit group with a few published authors in it, then you're probably in a good place! And I am sure they are being honest with you. If you truly feel that they aren't giving you enough crit—ask them to be nit-picky.

    Here's the thing though, even if your book is amazing? Yeah, you'll still get rejections. It's part of the game. I know several published authors...some that are on the freaking NYT list RIGHT NOW. And guess what? There were agents that rejected them. Editors that passed.

    It's part of the game. It sucks. It certainly feels yucky. But here's some cookies and a big hug.

  39. FrogGirl, you basically wrote my exact feelings this summer. I honestly thought about quitting, even though I can't seem to stop coming up with stories.

    I'm not sure how to help except to say I GET YOU. And it is so freaking hard to write in that state.

    I did take a break. Forced myself to stop so I could clear my head and take stock of what I really wanted. What I discovered was that I just wanted to ENJOY writing again. Since then I have been focusing solely on getting that back, and I've been much happier.

    Not to say that is what you should do, but that was what pulled me out of the death spiral.

  40. dalerobertweese, I think we all worry about what people will think of our work, but when it comes down to it the only opinion that matters is yours.

    I know, not much consolation. It certainly doesn't make you feel better when someone reams your book. But it's the truth.

    Not everyone will like your work. Not everyone will see merit in it. But that doesn't mean they are right. There will be others who love it. Others whose lives will be changed by it, whether that's lightening a bad mood or bringing on an epiphany.

    Focus on THOSE people—the ones who will love it. They are the important ones. They are the ones you want to please, and you will.

  41. Oh, Debbie, I could write a WHOLE POST on that "immoral" thing! I can tell you that I do write "controversial" material. I am also LDS. That does not mean my characters are.

    Some LDS people do have issues with that, but they are not the ones writing your book. You are writing your book, and it's your place to decide what you want to address.

    I have a younger sister. I would not be comfortable with her reading some of my books. I have made it clear that when she is a little older (she's almost 12) she can read them, but they aren't quite tween material.

    I personally think fiction is a good and safe place to explore difficult situations and themes. It's a good chance to talk with your kids about Hard Topics. Yes, I believe certain things, but I also believe it is important to be aware of the "ugly" things so you can be prepared.

    Anyway. To sum: YOU are in charge of that line. Yes, other people may not be a fan of where you set that line. No, that does not mean you should change it.

  42. Jeigh, you so had me laughing at #2!

    1. Everyone hits the bargain bin. Actually, most of the biggest sellers get bargain binned because publishers print A TON more of their books. Be happy to be in that bargain bin, because do you know what happens if they don't go there?

    They get mulched.


    That's probably not comforting. But yay for bargain bins! At least some of the books will be saved by being discounted!

    2. I think this is pretty common in the apocalyptic hysteria that seems to be hitting the industry right now. I wish I could say it was IMPOSSIBLE, but I don't really know.

    I do know that stories aren't going anywhere, though. I personally am not afraid of ebooks or the changing industry. People love stories, and somehow some of those people will find their way to yours.

  43. Kathy, I think the more writers worry about that "one idea" the harder it is to find the others. It'll come. They always do—when you're not thinking about them.

    I know it's hard to believe that something new will just fall in your lap, but it will. Or the ending to one of your other ideas will. Sometimes I'll have just a little thread of a story in my head for months or years, and then all of the sudden BAM. It clicks!

    So deep breath! It'll come when it feels like it:)

  44. Natalie, I'm glad you laughed at number 2, because I know it's silly, but after I pushed "post" I read it again and thought, "Huh, that makes me sound really weird."


  45. Thanks for your advice! It's always hard, because I know where they are coming from. I used to be one of those readers that thought authors put swear words in their books because they were lazy! Thanks for the encouragement and sharing the milk and cookies with us all! :D It's always nice to remember that we are not alone in this crazy writing thing.

  46. I enjoyed reading your responses to other people's fears too. Thanks for the effort. This post, the comments, and your replies also served as a reminder that we are not alone when we struggle with this stuff.

  47. I don't know if it't too late to add, but here goes:

    I unknowingly named a character in my story the same name as a character in a different book, an ACTUAL book, and I am terrified that no one will take me seriously because, "Oh, she totally just stole that from So-and-So," even though I didn't! I didn't even know that book existed when I started writing this. :( And it's not a common name I could get away with, either, like Sam or Kate. Or a name I feel like I could change, if it came down to it.

    THEN, I found a book at the library with a bunch of other similarities. Again, they were name similarities, not actual STORY similarities, but it sort of made me want to quit. I don't know what the actual word for that fear is, but it worries me to no end. "She's not very original, she just stole that from someone else, she's only in this for the money." These are the sorts of things I never want to hear.

    Thanks for listening.

  48. JPM, naming is such a funny thing! I mean, look at all the people naming their baby "original" names, and then suddenly half the kindergarten class is Aidan and the other half is Ava. It's like a strange collective mind thing.

    I've read a lot of books and noticed that names seem to go in trends each year. One year, there seemed to be a bunch of Riannons or Rionas and the like. And have you noticed recently all the "K" and "C" names with two syllables? Off the top of my head:

    Katsa, Katniss, Calla, Cassia, Chloe.

    And then there's Grace from The Dark Divine and Grace from Shiver. And I think I read like three books last year with Biancas.

    I guess I'm just saying not to worry too much about it. People don't really care as much as you'd think. There are only so many names out there! What's important is that you make that character come alive.

  49. Wow Natalie, you really spent the WHOLE day being all our BFFs.

    I can't tell you how much your response means to me, although my blog readers watched me swoon and screech like the teenagers I counsel.

    Especially when you said, "It's NOT my fault." You really hit the core of my Asian heart, lady. :)

  50. I'm sending double chocolate chip cookies via air mail. I think you're going to run out.

  51. Thanks, Natalie, for all your sage advice and words of comfort! When writing isn't fun, I check out your blog to get some perspective and have a laugh. You do a great job, and you are possibly the best therapist/BFF/mom-substitute I've ever had!

    Thanks for all your hard work!


  52. My first eBook is coming out in a few days. I'll let you know the costs of publishing (none so far), promoting ($250 so far), etc.

    Also, as one published writer to another, published is not synonymous with either success or skill. With your blog, you've probably done more good for more people than any book or article you have published.

    Best to ya.

    Distant cousin by marriage: Charlie Whipple

  53. Natalie, you're awesome. That is all :)

  54. Natalie,

    Thanks for your response. Even though I know it's true, it sometimes takes hearing someone else say it to make me believe it.

    Thanks for spending your day pwning our fears.


    P.S. I have seen you mention a couple times that you love Warcraft, and I just have to say that I played and loved that game for several years before my "real life" finally took over. I still love the game even if I can't play it anymore. Just thought I'd mention it since I saw how much you liked it. :)

  55. Thanks for responding to even the silliest fears, like mine (possibly the most ridiculous thing--and you made excellent points). I feel better now. That was the idea, right? :D You're pretty cool, Natalie.

  56. That I'll die having been published no where but in a few mediocre literary journals.

  57. A lot of people have already voiced some of my fears...

    I'm always afraid that I'll never have the initiative to finish a book and even if I do, I'll be too sick of it to revise and after that I won't have the nerve to submit it and even if I do that, nobody will like it and I will die a writing failure. I can just imagine lying there on my deathbed, thinking about all my dreams that were never accomplished.

    I'm also kind of afraid to show my stories to certain people. For example, I have a writing club with a couple friends, but one of them is really outspoken and I don't want to be hurt by criticism. I know it would be good to have suggestions and that it would help me in the long run, but it still hurts!


  58. Wow, this is such a great post! I wish I'd seen it two weeks ago.

    I'm with FrogGirl.

    I was all excited at first about my novel when I started it four years ago. It was fun and exciting to be writing again. But the process of writing (and blogging and learning about writing) consumed my time, kept me from sleeping, and generally made me exhausted, withdrawn and inefficient as a wife and mom. My husband even threatened to divorce me over it, and I can't say I blame him.

    Soooo... I worked very hard to tame my muse and even stopped writing completely at intervals. Now I'm trying to finish this Manuscript Which Never Dies, but I'm having a very hard time getting back into the groove. I really wish I could quit and end this constant tension, but every time I try to walk away from it, I'm miserable. I know I have to do this. I don't know why, but I do. But I don't know how to do it without jeapordizing my marriage again.

    So I'm caught in this perpetual guilt trip... I feel guilty if I'm writing, and guilty if I'm not. And my Really Big Fear is that I might actually get published, and then have to do all that work to promote the book and build my following even bigger and write more books and I don't think my family would survive.

    Wow, that was depressing! Time for a cookie.

    Thanks for listening.