Fear is the Mind Killer
Man, it has been crazy times lately. Let's see, in the last few weeks my wife and I finally fled NYC after 6 years for a little small town livin' in NY's Hudson Valley, I left a long time job, I took part in the awesome Teen Author Festival, The Eleventh Plague hit a bestseller list ( ! ) and I started a new book.
Maybe it sounds strange but starting the new book felt like the biggest thing and in a lot of ways the toughest. I've been writing all this time in the sense that I've been editing Magisterium but today was the first day in, man, months I think, that I wrote something new. Sure, maybe part of that is business but not all, not really.
Mostly I think it was fear.
I'm constantly struck by how much of what gets in our way as writers is fear based. Writer's block? It's fear. You want so badly to write something "good" that the terror that you won't, or can't, paralyses. Starting something new is the same way. Actually opening a new word doc (or whatever) titling it and writing that very first line can be more than a little scary. Why? I think writing that first line is like making a promise to yourself and the fear is that it's a promise you can't keep. I mean we can't fail if we never start, right?
The thing I keep trying to remind myself is that I will fail, I'll fail alot, but with enough time and work it'll get there. Right now all I have to do is stay focused and have fun making a story unfold. The rest will come.
What about you all? Does fear hold you back from starting something new? From editing? How do you handle it?
Also, 2 points for guessing the reference in this post title...
(Oh and FYI, my first line, the one for this new book that will be changed a million times most likely was..."The first thing I noticed when I woke up was that my arm was broken and I was chained to the bed." Hmm. Not bad I think...)
The League of Extraordinary Writers is a group of debut YA authors who write science fiction and dystopian works. The ten of us have works that run the gamut of near-future mind control to far-future space travel, but they do have one thing in common: a future where the Earth we know now is twisted, gone.