Friday, February 7, 2020

Strength of Fear

Many of you know I write and that I have six books published. Last night I completed the edits on my seventh and shipped it off to the publisher. For any of us who write, or for that matter, for any of us who do anything in “public” there are several stages we go through.

The first is a feeling of pride. I accomplished something that many have not done. I feel good about the project. It’s interesting, entertaining, and this one will surely tug at heartstrings. There will be a lack of comfort- both while reading and most certainly at the end.

The second stage is tiredness. While I think I’ve edited it completely and thoroughly, my publisher will send it to me with editorial suggestions. Some of them are no brainers that I am embarrassed at not noticing or finding on my own. I often mutter to myself, “How stupid! How did I miss that?” But most are suggestions and I am able to pick and choose which ones to follow. The tiredness comes in the fact that I’ve already begun my next and I’d rather keep working on something new rather than something that is “done.”

The third stage is right before release. Excitement. Anticipation. All of that. There is the promotional aspect that, while I am not expert by any means, I’m getting better at. It is time consuming and again, it takes me away from my new project. So, while I feel excited, I’m also a bit annoyed.

The last stage for me is fear. What I write is not necessarily an easy read. It has controversy in it. Bad things happen to good people. There are personal decisions and dilemmas that my characters are faced with- some of them being tough to deal with. As I mentioned, this book will tug at heartstrings and might cause a tear or two. The ending is not neat and tidy. Sort of like life, I guess.

But the fear for me is what are people going to think of it? Are people going to like it? Will the reviews rip me to shreds that might cause readers to shy away from reading my book or will there be positive ones that move the reader to do so? What will my family think? What will my friends think?

I’ve lost sleep pre-launch. I’m a wreck as I watch the book rating on Amazon. Fear is, well, somewhat debilitating.

What’s that old adage about fear and anxiety? What does a rocking chair and worry have in common? Something to do but you don’t go anywhere. Something like that.

I think we’ve all been faced with fear from time to time. Will our kids make the right decision? When they drive at night- especially a long distance, will they arrive without incident? Some of us, probably most of us, are evaluated at some level or another. How will that turn out? Bills to pay and not enough money. Illness and injury to a loved one, to yourself.

Fear hurts the mind and it hurts the body. If you think it doesn’t, Google effects of fear on the body and see the results. And some of us, me included, have lived with fear for days, weeks, months. The unknown is scary, especially for those of us who like a modicum of control.

I know that many of you reading this live daily, minute by minute, hour by hour with some anxiety, if not fear. Many of you do it bravely by plastering on a smile. You live this each day trying to not let anyone know. Sometimes it causes a tear. Sometimes a harsh word to someone undeserving. Fear, after all, cannot be hidden too long. It seeps and oozes out at uncomfortable and unplanned moments. It catches us off guard- others, too.

Just remember the rocking chair adage. It’s something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. Neither does fear and neither does anxiety. Using my new book as an example, people will read it or they won’t. People will buy it or they won’t. People will like it or they won’t. I have to take solace in the fact that I did the very best I could from the heart. I put myself out there and we will see what happens. I can only control what I can control. Mostly, I can’t control what I can’t control. Kind of like you. Kind of like a lot of us. Fear wastes us away and takes away the joy we can experience in the moment. We need the joy. We don’t need the fear. I think that is true for all of us. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

Photo Courtesy of Tom Pumford and Unsplash

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe