Ever wonder what your favorite author fears? What your writer friend dreads? Wonder no more. Here is a spoooooky list of frights that could stop the heart of almost any wordsmith.
I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. – Douglas Adams
It has the word “dead” in it for a reason (dun dun DUUUUN!), but if a writer wants to get anything done, a deadline needs to be set. This year I set a deadline of Halloween to finish draft one of a novel, and I ended up finishing in June. Huh. Fear motivates. Go figure 😉
- Writer’s block
“I don’t really believe in writer’s block, but I absolutely believe in getting stuck.” – Neil Gaiman
I’d like to point out that writer’s block pretty much means you’re stuck. Whatever you want to call it, it can be terrifying. But there are ways to work through it. Go for a walk, exercise, get a change of view, go on vacation, play, paint, read, write something else, write emails, listen to music. The list is endless. The best things for it is patience, distractions, and time.
- No/poor sales
The sad reality of writing and publishing is that not everyone is going to find what you have written. You can advertise, you can ask your friends and readers to spread the word, but at the end of the day, why someone picks up one book and not another is somewhat of a mystery. The best thing to do is keep writing and interacting with people online. They call it SOCIAL media for a reason.
- Bad reviews
Let me tell you: they STING. But there’s a wrong way and a right way to deal with them. The wise man does not respond, does not let their friends respond, does not incite a riot by doxing the reviewer, and so forth. As writers, we’re criticized at every turn. First it starts with self-doubt, then it’s critiques, then it’s edits, then it’s rejections, then it’s reviews. It never ends. We don’t necessarily have to develop thick skin. We can still feel the pain of it all without being able to help it. Feelings are just feelings, however: it’s what you do with them that matters.
This one depresses me the most. You work very hard, spending years getting your manuscript written and ready, then you spend time querying and getting many noes and then a yes. Then it’s more revising, more work, and finally your big day comes. You’re published—congrats! But then someone decides that you, who have made exactly $20 so far in sales, have enough money and that your work can and should be distributed freely. So they post your years of work on the internet for everyone. It is not only illegal, it hurts authors. Our next book depends on how well our previous book does. If we don’t sell enough copies because of pirating, our next book might not have the financial backing to come out. Not only do pirates screw over the author, the publisher, the editors, the cover artists, etc., they screw over fellow readers. Strong language for an issue I feel very strongly about.
There’s a lot of good information out there to help prevent writers from getting taken in by shady vanity publishers and outright scammers. Writer Beware is one such resource, and Preditors* and Editors is making a comeback, I hear.
*That’s the spelling.
- No reviews
Oh the agony of waiting to see what people think of your writing! No reviews is *almost* as bad as negative reviews. Ahhhhhhh!
- Rejection letters
By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing. – Stephen King
Even the King of Horror received a lot of noes. They’re still no fun, but they show that at least you’re trying.
- Typos in a published manuscript
Talk about screaming bloody murder—AHHHHHHH! But it happens to all of us. Traditionally published, indie published, self-published. No one’s immune to the typo that five or so sets of eyes can’t catch.
What frightens you about what you do?
Keep your nose in a book,