I started writing about ten years ago. Early on, I had success getting my short stories published in various anthologies. Writing was fun.
After writing short stories for a few years, I knew I had to push myself to the next level and write novels. My plotting tended toward the complex. I liked to read novels with multiple POVs so instead of one plot line, my outlines looked like a city planner’s diagram of coordinated stoplights, paralleling and intersecting the characters movements. They took a long time to write, but when they were finished I was happy with them. They were the type of books I liked to read. Not cookie cutter. Of course, I also learned they aren’t ever really finished.
I got involved in exchanging manuscripts with other writers, and I learned not all beta readers are equal. Some are not able to read outside of their own genres. But the helpful beta readers enabled me to pinpoint weak points and aided in revision. I took classes and wrote cover copy and summaries for my novels along with cover letters to agents. My first manuscript must have impressed some agents. I was asked for partials and one for a full manuscript. All in all, I tried perhaps twelve agents. Some ignored me. One asked for an exclusive and then ignored me for months. I also realized that since my books weren’t cookie cutter, telling agents where they would place it on the shelf wasn’t an easy task. Agents wanted new and fresh, but without my having a publishing track record, no one would take a chance with a newbie. I gave up and concentrated on my second manuscript.
The second manuscript was a paranormal mystery. It was not as well received by beta readers as the first manuscript, and when that one went nowhere, I became discouraged. I continued to write short stories, but trying to step up my game, I submitted to more professional publishers without success. I became more discouraged.
For a time, I couldn’t write fiction. I wrote a blog or two and continued with my interviews of other authors. I know that paranoia can destroy you, but the fear of rejection stopped me in my keyboard. Last year, I wrote a short story that came to me fait accompli. I knew the beginning, middle, and end before I wrote the first word. It was fun. I submitted it, but I haven’t found out yet if it has been accepted. I’m not holding my breath.
After New Year’s, Grace Topping, who had beta read my first manuscript, prompted me to market my first novel again. It had to have been four or five years since she read it. I was amazed she even remembered it. But her urging me to go-for-it, has motivated me to start the query process again. I’m having to break through that wall of fear that has made writing a terrifying process. I want it to be fun again because I don’t think you can write well while feeling fear.
Have you broken through fear? How did you do it?