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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thinkin' Thursday: Contest Paralysis

Fear. It is one of the most powerful motivators in our lives. According to Dictionary.com here's what we're looking at:

a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling.
concern or anxiety; solicitude.
reverential awe, esp. toward god.
that which causes a feeling of being afraid; that of which a person is afraid.
Yesterday, I submitted a piece for a national contest. Normally, I would shake, rattle & hang on the verge of vomit. Not so this time. My palms didn't sweat; my stomach didn't quiver. Don't get me wrong, I am a big bundle of fear & self-doubt -  especially when it comes to hangin' my writing flag out there. That's why it struck me odd that I submitted & let go. No craziness, no second thoughts.
One of the meanderings rolling around in my brain was the fact that the piece, while I am very proud of it, is not me. Say again; IT'S NOT ME! It is a snippet in time, representative of the work I do. While I am not so altruistic as to say it doesn't matter if I win, I have taken the stance that what happens happens. I want to win, I hope I win, but I will survive if I don't. At the end of the day, I have learned something about my work & myself. And that, friendlies, is well worth the fee.
Here's the question: How do you deal with fear in your writing career? Have you found ways to turn it into a positive? If so, how?
Happy Writing,


  1. Love the picture Patti. My biggest fear in writing is to query and submit. I never get used to that. Other fears dominate on occasion. Hey, were writer's, a good dose of emotion doesn't hurt when we need to channel it to create characters and tension packed scenes.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  2. Fear? I don't think I'm that emotional involved with my writing. Amusement [and maybe stalling senility] are more my goals than anything else.

    Though, maybe my reluctance to "market" mirrors N. R.'s fears about submitting. I'll rationalize that my stuff can still be improved beyond its current state.

  3. Nancy & Kay,

    Thanks for the insights. It's always good to know we're not alone on this solitary journey. I'm also terrified of the query/submit feat; I think I'll refer to it as squeryfest. Rationalization is another tool in the fear make-up bag, I think. I can rationalize to death & that in itself is paralyzing.