Do you ever read self help books? I haven’t for quite a while, but at certain times in my life I have found a few of them helpful. Usually I’ve collected them because someone else has recommended them, or I’ve read a good review.
At the moment my house is overflowing with books. It takes me a very long time to decide I can do without any book, and they pile up and up. Since I’m trying to sell the house and have a fresh start somewhere else, I have finally convinced myself that quite a lot of them have to go. So I’ve sorted out the ones that I’m allowing myself to keep and the rest are gradually being put up for sale on Amazon, ebay or Green Metropolis. Those that don’t sell before I move will go to the local charity shops.
One of those I have to keep is Susan Jeffers’ Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. There’s a lot of good stuff in there that I like to be reminded of, so I dip in from time to time. She thinks it’s fear that often holds us back and can even stop us on the brink of success.
And she puts into words some sublime truths, such as – the fear will never go away. It’s so true – each time I submit a manuscript, I am afraid that I haven’t done enough market research and it won’t be right for my target market. Often that fear delays me for days, sometimes weeks, sometimes my work never sees the light of day.
That’s because I don’t take the advice of the next truth – the only way to get rid of the fear of something is to go out and do it. Remembering this does help me bite the bullet and send pieces out. After all, the worst that can happen is it’ll get rejected. And there’s only so much that market research can tell me. It certainly won’t let me know that the editor has already accepted something similar and is planning to use it next month.
It’s the same with query letters. I’m afraid I’ll be thought of as an upstart, not a writer really. But actually, I don’t suppose that crosses the editor’s mind. S/he will look at the idea and toss it onto a pile – yes, no, think about it. Maybe I’ll get a reply; maybe not; if I do, it could be a straight yes or no; it could be a yes but…; or it could be a ‘no but what other ideas do you have?’. I have to remember that I’ll never succeed if I don’t try to overcome my fears, and just do it.
As for picking up the phone – well, I don’t think I have enough time to go into all that today.