Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fear is the Mind-Killer

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain. 
-Frank Herbert, Dune

            Is there a stigma for writers, or is the stigma a construct to excuse sloth and a lack of discipline. Someone who gives into fear when it concerns their writing cannot be considered a writer in fact, only in their own minds. Fear is a persuasive condition, difficult to overcome. Yet that fear may be easier to manage in this new world of e-publishing.
            It comes as a relief to know that the written word produced will have a destination other than the bottom of a drawer, if the writer desires for the wider world to see what has been committed to some organized state, whether a novel, short story, or poem. The fear is not wasting time writing something that will never be read; the fear is having a single person decide if what is written has merit and worth. That should be for readers to decide. As a writer, I want a fair chance, and sending out manuscripts seems unfair and the fear I have, always have had, is that I will be judged and dismissed and denied a chance to do what I love.
            I imagine other writers have a similar fear. We don’t know about trends, about what is hot in the publishing world, what traditional publishers think will sell in six months, a year, or longer, from the time they buy and eventually publish what they purchased from the writer. I fear getting older and chasing my dream and waiting for a chance that has less to do with my writing and more to do with some stranger’s bottom line.
            I don’t need to sell a million copies of a book, or even a thousand. A hundred copies would be great, or, the truth, even one would be a kick in the ass.
            Let my skill be the guide to my success. If I produce a book, I feel as if that is my ticket to the show and I should be able to enter the publishing fray on merit and then see how the chips fall. In the new world of e-publishing, we can all play on more equal footing and do so without fear that we will never get our chance to swing the bat.

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