Monday, May 14, 2012

Doubt Devil: Fear of Failure

Welcome to my first blog post on the new author blog. I do hope you will hang around with me once I'm up and running here. I thought I'd jump into the deep in with my first post. Why not?

Fear of Failure

As I was closing in on and then trudging across that half-century mark, I realized a few things, things that had eluded me for the first part of my life. One of these (better late than never) epiphanies was that I had lived much of my life in 'fear of' - the fear of failure was huge. It is human to fail. Repeat - it is human to fail. We all do it at some point in our lives, some of us more often than others. Some of us seem to need more than one time around the block to realize we should pause at the caution light and rethink our next move. After all, we would not drive into an intersection without looking. Life is full of intersections.

I fear failure much less now. You see, I have failed many times. Titanic-sized failures yet, I am still here; the world kept turning in spite of my failures. If only we could know that from the start.  The sooner we learn that we all fail, the further in life we are able to propel ourselves with the lessons learned through our failures. These personal failures teach us to recognize the caution light and to pause at the intersections we come to on the road of life. Pausing gives us time to make better decisions. Better decisions lead to fewer failures.

I thought I had the fear of failure thing beaten - triumphed over it completely. That is what I get for thinking. While writing my current novel, Vanda's Calling, doubt began to creep into my writing sessions. Voices other than those of my characters were finding their way into my thoughts as I was trying to work out scenes or settings. Perhaps my heroine is too nice. Maybe the hero is too brusque. Maybe the pacing is all wrong. Worst of all was the thought that I should quit. I could not possibly publish or have published a novel. No one would want to read what I had to say. The more I tried to push these doubts aside, the more often they crept into my writing time and even interrupted my sleep.

The worst days are the days spent battling the thoughts that I am a fraud at this writing thing. Warring with the voices in my head that tell me I was meant to do something else. Not my voice, no. Often, these voices come from those who never seemed to find their own true path in life. Those are the voices I find most annoying as I struggle with the devil of doubt. Can I do this? Should I do this? Should I place all these files into a zipped folder, tuck it away and get a 'real' job? 

I had to face the fact that this devil of doubt that plagued me on a daily basis was not going to go away until I looked into its glowing red eyes and told it what a liar it was, is and always had been. It is no easy task to stare down your own doubt devils. Doubt devils are creatures from the dark that torment us only as long as we let them. Once we realize we have the power to beat them, we can do just that and move on with our mission.

For me, that is to finish my current novel and move on to the next one - and the next one and then next one and the next one... Will the devil of doubt rear its ugly head again? I am almost certain it will. I am equally as certain that I will be able to overcome that particular devil.

Are you struggling with your own doubt devils or have you become victorious over them?

*An Update*

Since writing this post, I have written and had accepted by a publisher,
the first book in a trilogy and one short story.
Vanda's Calling is not yet complete. She is next on my list of projects to finish.
She has been patient with me while I whipped my own doubt devil.



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