Nothing is so much to be feared as fear.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Today I talked to two very different women about two very different topics. But both conversations had a common theme: overcoming fear.
As some people know, I do a weekly online radio show that showcases pets available for adoption at rescue and shelters. I talked to a “foster mom” named Jane about a very beautiful feline that’s currently in rescue. Like many people, Jane has unique gifts. In her case, it’s a connection with animals. In fact, many people have suggested that she write about her amazing experiences in dealing with animals over the course of three decades. (I can report, even from our fairly short conversation, she’s got stories to tell!)
Jane confessed to me that she’s never thought of herself as a writer, and was actually afraid of the process. Now thanks to a lot of encouragement, she’s putting down in words a lot of things she “thought everyone knew, but doesn’t.” It got me thinking that when it comes to creativity, sometimes you really have to get past your fear. When you write, you “put yourself out there” for anyone to see and that can be scary.
The second woman I talked to has completed a book manuscript, but is leery of the publishing and promotion process. Granted, getting a book out into the world can be complicated. But I think a lot of the fear comes down to the same thing: again you’re putting your writing out there for everyone to see.
A book is a tangible representation of your creativity. People might reject the book or say horrible things. The printer might screw up the cover and charge you a fortune. Horror stories abound, and if you’re not used to working with printers, the process can feel overwhelmingly scary. Any number of things could go wrong, and because it’s your writing on the line, the mistakes can feel extremely personal.
The good news from a publishing standpoint is that at least some of the fear can be mitigated with print-on-demand (POD) printing. It’s a lot less expensive to redo a proof than it is to have 2,000 books sitting in your garage with a typo on the cover. With POD, if you see a typo, you can upload a new file. It costs you about $40, instead of $4000 to fix a problem.
What’s interesting is how quickly fear can just stop you in your tracks. Many people simply freeze up when faced with the Great Unknown. But the women I talked to today both recognized the fear and moved past it. By letting go of their fear, they have made it possible for their creative works to be shared with the world. Seeing people bravely go forth and realize their writing dreams is one of the reasons I enjoy doing what I do.