“Do the thing you’re afraid to do and the death of fear is certain.” –Emerson
Owning a business can be scary. Being a writer can be scary. So publishing your own books can seem super scary. It’s easy to say that those people who never finish their books are simply lazy. I contend that it’s more likely they are afraid.
I’ve been laid off and fired (more than once actually). I was totally and completely afraid that I’d be broke, homeless, and friendless. My first response to all these emotions was to do absolutely nothing. Fear stops you in your tracks. You sit there freaking out, wondering what’s next.
“Sitting there freaking out” is a less clinical way of saying you’re paralyzed by fear. Putting a book or other creative work out into the universe invites criticism. Nobody wants to write a book people hate. We writers are a sensitive bunch, after all.
You might be worried that you’ll get hostile nasty reviews of your book on Amazon.com. Online trolls may delight in pointing out every single egregious typo. (I can tell you right now that my books have typos; I’m not saying where, but they exist.)
Or, even worse, you might worry that your book could be a humiliating failure. It could kill your business and you’ll never realize those dreams that you’ve had lurking in the back of your head for years.
If you’re afraid, you aren’t alone. I am too. I’ve published 10 books and not all of them have been completely successful.
But I’m not sorry I wrote or published my books — even the ones that aren’t selling particularly well. Why? Because Emerson is right: after you’ve done something, it’s not scary any more. I know that my tenth book is better than my first book.
I did the thing I was afraid to do, and after you’ve done that scary thing once, you gain the confidence to do it again. After publishing one book, I published another, and another. Each one was easier than the one before because I knew what to expect.
Then I tackled my fear of public speaking. When I was a kid I was so shy I was afraid to buy gum at the local market because I’d have to talk to a clerk. Yet last fall, because of one of my books, I was invited to a conference to teach a 1-1/2 hour workshop. I was terrified. It all went well, and the best thing is that now I know I can do that too.
Yesterday, I received a great email from my sister about our upcoming publishing conference. She said, “you just keep attacking things, learning and creating and making things happen.” But I’m no different than anyone else. You can do it too.
Go forth and do the thing you are afraid to do. You won’t regret it.