Fear and a Mission

First things first: my anger is letting up.  Maybe the last post I wrote was my official invitation to be healed of it.  I’m not going to stop posting informative links on my Facebook page and if I feel like writing about politics I will with my bleeding heart behind it.  But…I don’t think I’ll do it with such angry energy anymore.

I’m really starting to think that this latest political news has hit a nerve in me for a reason.  Over the last few years I’ve decided I don’t want to go back to a teaching career.  My students always learned what they needed to learn and I like to think for a few of them I made a valuable impact on their lives, but I wasn’t good at classroom management.  And in my opinion in the teaching field that is everything.  I wasn’t consistent enough or stern enough.  Even with my small group of wonderful kids at church I often struggle to keep them on task.  I don’t like to be the bad guy and in fact I’m not even good at attempting to be.  But still I have an education degree and five years experience in the classroom.  I suppose I could go back to that career and I could also go back to the routine of coming home often in tears because I just don’t feel I’m good enough at my job.  So this latest news is like the straw that broke the camel’s back.  On top of going back to a career that keeps me locked in self-doubt and anxiety, I’d also be even more under-paid and under-appreciated (what is happening to teachers elsewhere will happen here in FL very soon).

I have, once again, found myself in a position of wondering what I am meant to do.  I love writing more than anything but I’m scared to assume that is the career for me.  I’m so scared that I’m barely even trying.  There was a writing contest in a local publication here.  I’ve been published in the magazine twice.  I could have had success in the contest but I just didn’t bother to enter.  There’s another contest with a deadline of March 15.  I want to enter the narrative nonfiction category and write about Amy.  I’d love to get her story out in a real publication where many people will read it instead of just here on this blog.  But, I’m dragging my feet…blocking myself.  I’m scared.

Last Wednesday I received 1.5 copies of my book read and edited by two of my writer friends.  I love this book and want it published.  I haven’t even touched those edited copies yet.  I’m afraid it’s going to overwhelm me and I’ll give up.  I’m worried I don’t have it in me to make a book publishable.   A few days ago Bella told me that she has changed her mind about being a Scientist when she grows up and she now wants to be an author.  That statement made me realize it is more important than ever that I do what needs to be done to make this book a success.  If I do my best and fail that is one thing, but I can’t just sit here being paralyzed by fear.  I want Bella to see that I tried and not think I just wrote novel after novel and shoved them all in drawers.

I have reached the point where I must “feel the fear and do it anyway.”  Over the history of my life, too often I have gotten to this place and given up.  I’m not really sure what I’m afraid of.  If it’s failure, well giving up is a form of failure too and if it’s success that’s just scary because it’s so unknown and unpredictable.  Today I will sit down and look over the suggested edits my friends have given me.  I will put in place some concrete steps to get to where I want to be.  And if I do it for no one else, I’ll do it for my little girl!

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7 thoughts on “Fear and a Mission

  1. ray March 7, 2011 / 11:07 am

    Go for it. Your inner strength will be there when you put it to the test. You know this to be true.

  2. Laura March 7, 2011 / 11:17 am

    Ah Leslee. I feel that fear and let it block me all the time. It’s a little crazy, but it does happen. Sometimes I wish for the boldness I felt in my teens! I want it back! Go forward and confront it. I’m coming too. We can do this sort of thing together. Or at least cheer each other on.

  3. Candie Goodwin March 7, 2011 / 9:10 pm

    You can do it Leslee! Stop doubting yourself, you are a wonderful writer!

  4. lesleehorner March 7, 2011 / 9:11 pm

    Thank you Ray, Laura, and Candie!

  5. Leigh D. Muller March 9, 2011 / 9:52 am

    Of course you have it in you. What you don’t have is belief in your talent, something that’s epidemic in writers. None of us write well in the beginning — heck — we don’t write well for @ 10 years. But the writers who make it straighten their backs and stubbornly continue, even though the learning curve is ludicrously long and the odds of success even longer. You have to read and study and practice, go over the same page a hundred times until finally it sings. It’s frustrating, but it’s a necessary part of the process we all must push through. If you don’t love the challenge and the work, walk away now. If anything I can say will keep you from writing, walk away now.

    But I hope you won’t. Because you do have the talent. The only thing within your control is your own tenacity and the quality of your writing. Agents, publishers, advertising campaigns — or more likely the lack of them — are beyond our control. But good books do sell. Agents and publishers are looking for them. The industry lives or dies on them. Write a great concept well enough and you won’t need much publicity; your readers will tell their friends and sell it for you.

    You’ve come up with a great concept. That’s 1/4 the battle. You’ve written a strong first draft. That’s the second 1/4 done. So far, your natural ability has served you well; you’ve had fun and done well with these tasks.

    Your job for the next 1/4 is to clean it up. This will be harder; it takes time and commitment. But if you love this book as much as it deserves, you can do it. If you love writing as much as you say, you can do it, because this is what writing is, cycles of struggle, frustration, self-doubt until finally you write something good, and know it.

    The last 1/4 will be writing your pitch and finding an agent. Your concept is strong; it will do most of this work for you.

    So there you go. You are already half way there. The first chapters will be hardest to clean up, because you are learning how to do it. But as you work through the book, you’ll get faster until editing becomes second nature. Learn this once, and you will use it for the rest of your writing life.

    The ball is there, Leslee. It’s up to you to play or not. Some of us enjoy the challenge, but there’s no shame in either choice. I know which way I hope you choose, though.

    • lesleehorner March 9, 2011 / 1:17 pm

      Thank you Leigh! And I have to say at this moment RIGHT NOW, I’ve got no other options but to work my ass off to make this book good enough. I am a procrastinator though, so I’ve got to push through the tendency to keep putting it off. I’ve got to set my “under pressure” date….I tend to do my best work under pressure.

      • Leigh D. Muller March 9, 2011 / 7:37 pm

        I’m in the same spot, Leslee. Let’s make an accountability pack; I’ll work hard if you will. Race you to the finish!

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