Here’s a challenge for you: start talking to your family and friends about the book your writing and see how long it takes before someone tells you, “I’ve been thinking about writing a book.” Lots of people think about writing books, so why aren’t there more writers out there? There are lots of possible reasons – not having the time, the passion, or the commitment to do it, for example.
But there’s another group of people out there who’ve started their books. They’re following their passion, making time, and committing to writing, but they still haven’t finished a book. Why? They want to be writers, but they don’t know how to do it because they’re afraid of what will happen.
When you start writing, you open yourself up to criticism and rejection. It’s easy – and natural – to fear those responses. It doesn’t take long, however, before passion and commitment fade in the shadow of fear.
So how do you keep writing? How do you move through the fear?
You do it afraid.
Worried about how much editing you might have to do? Write anyway.
Afraid that people won’t like what you’ve written? Keep writing.
Nervous about possible rejection slips from agents and publishers? Write!
You’ll never write the perfect book because it doesn’t exist, but you can write your perfect book, so write it.
No matter how well you write, you’ll never write a book that everyone likes, so write the best book you can for the people who want to read it.
Agents and editors can’t possibly accept every submission they receive, but that doesn’t mean you should stop writing (or submitting).
There are no guarantees in life, and there are no guarantees in writing, but that doesn’t mean you should stop doing it. Yes, writing will make you vulnerable to criticism and scrutiny, but so will any other job (or relationship or grocery shopping…). So you have to decide – will you let fear dictate your actions, or will follow your passion regardless of the fear?
Go for option number two. Keep writing, even if it means writing through the fear.