Frozen in Fear of Failure

I haven’t managed to submit another story since I sent in “The Accidental Spider-Queen” to Fireside Fiction back in April.

At first, it was because I hadn’t been writing. My former day-job (the part time one I quit in a fit of pique after rightfully feeling unappreciated) drained me to the point where all I’d do was come home, crawl into bed, and go do sleep. But I haven’t been working for almost two weeks.

So why haven’t I been submitting things?

I’ve been writing. I fell back into love with Scrivener and wound up polishing one short story and writing a rough draft for another. I even keep up to date with what companies and magazines are looking for submissions. The rough draft (a heavyweight at over 8200 words) was written because of an open call on a website that I liked and wanted to submit to.

But then –

Nothing.

I don’t even think I’ve told my beta-reader Fleet that I finished writing anything for zir to look over. I’ve just been sitting here convinced that my attempts at writing have been mediocre and that if I do submit anything, it’s going to go poorly. I’m not sure why my brain has leapt into self-sabotage mode. You’d think that after having my first submission also become my first published story, my brain would leap headfirst into this thing.

You’d think that I would be this swaggering boss about submitting things because hey, I become a professionally published writer on my first try. But nope. Not happening. The confidence I usually feel when I succeed at something (like baking – I’m still obnoxious over how quickly I took to baking back in 2013) isn’t there. I don’t look at the stories I have finished and go “Oh hey, this is great and someone’s going to buy this”.

More likely than not, I go “Man, why did I write this? No one’s going to even want to look at it.”

I’m destroying my own (admittedly middling) attempts at a writing career before I even get more than a foot in the door. I know that as a writer, insecurity is a thing we have to battle against. It’s the thing after motivation because no one can read your stuff if it’s not finished, but you’re also not going to get an audience if you’re not willing or able to try and get your work out there.

I get it.

I so get it.

But insecurity, this fear of rejection (from everyone at this point) is keeping me frozen.

The first short story that I was polishing has been done for about a month. It’s a light and fluffy “there’s attraction and there could be love in the future” M/M fantasy story about a god and a demon looking for shelter. It’s cute. My best friend B loved it so much that she asked for me to write her a sequel for her birthday.

So why haven’t I sent it to anyone else?

Why haven’t I sent it to my beta reader or asked for anyone on tumblr/twitter to look it over?

Why is it just here, collecting metaphorical dust in my “Completed Drafts” folder?

I’m scared. Scared that that flash story sale was a fluke. Scared that my writing is hollow.

Scared of failure.

And I’m not sure how to get over it. I just know that I’m going to have to do it and soon because I feel like I’m going to keep missing opportunities to get out there. I love writing more than anything (except naps of course) but when it comes down to it, I really hate rejection and failure and that fear is definitely holding me back.

What about you all? What are some ways that you face insecurity in your writing process and how do you combat it?

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About Zina

Zina writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories and complaining about stuff. One day, she'll settle down and write that novel.
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One Response to Frozen in Fear of Failure

  1. *HUGS* If it helps, I can gently bap you until you show me a thing. *tiny boxing motions*

    But I totally feel this. As soon as I need to write something that goes to other people, I panic and don’t want to finish it or send it out because I just *know* it’s going to be crap, even when it always turns out fine. It’s like once I know somebody specific is going to read it, my brain goes into super panic mode and decides that no part of my story will ever be good, which is super weird because every time I write something just for fun or for myself, I always end up in, “Heck yeah, this is great, y’all should be honored to read this” mode.

    Sadly, I haven’t found a way to break it, either. Well, except maybe doing it in a fit of panic at all hours and then sending it off, but that’s a giant leap of faith too, so….

    *HUGS*

    Like

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