Yeah, that was me. Afraid of rejection. Afraid to even try. I returned to the same novel time and again, revising and revising. Never ready to take the next step. Too fearful of the unknown.
Fear of failure is nothing new to writers. After all who likes to be told, “we don’t want you.” It’s like a blow to the chest. There’s really no preparing yourself. Still, it’s something we all have to go through if we really want to be published authors. We have to walk through the fire. Temper steel. Face our fears.
What ended up helping me was to look at some of the authors I admired and really see their journey. After all no one starts out famous. Superman took five years to get published. Stan Lee almost lost his job when he first suggested Spiderman. Stephen King felt so bad about his rejection by Random House he filed away his first novel, “The Long Walk”. Even his novel Carrie began as a few pages thrown in the trash, only to be rescued by his wife, who insisted he continue. J.K. Rowling was told that nobody would want to publish Harry Potter because it was too long and set in a boarding school. It took her agent a year to sell the manuscript. My favorite manga author, Masashi Kishimoto, spent all of high school and most of art college trying to win the Hop Jump award. When he finally did, and had a professional editor to work with, he was rejected for over year before finally hitting on Naruto. The thing is, nobody makes it overnight. Period. Every author has to face rejection.
So I finally took a gulp of courage and submitted a few chapters of Boiled Cat to Orca Press. To my delight, they asked for the rest of the novel, only to later reject it. But it gave me hope and more importantly, much needed experience. Now I have two books published, I’m starting my journey into self-publishing, and I still have more than a few rejection letters under my belt. And you know what? Rejection still sucks, but the truth about fear is, it gets less the more you face it.
So no more talking down to yourself. Finish your manuscript, story or poem and head for the stars. What’s the worse that can happen? You end up right where you were, but a little wiser and much more brave.