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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday Spotlight: Jax Cassidy

Don’t let Fear become your kryptonite

This isn't about Superman or his weaknesses—this is about authors and what seems to be their biggest kryptonite.

For me, I've observed most frequently three main obstacles writers face. I'm sure we'll have our fair share of these moments but it's not necessarily a bad thing. Now, when it rules our ability to move beyond...that's when it becomes problematic.

1.Self-doubt ... you go through days when you think that your writing has never smelled sweeter. Then, you start re-reading and over edit and discover that you're frustrated because it doesn't seem to read as well as you previously believed.

Or, when you're on a break between writing, you pick up another author's book. After reading it, you think you'll never be in their league. Never produce anything as tight and engaging. You sulk and this causes more self-doubt and you lose your enthusiasm for writing.

2. Fear ... you're terrified that your writing voice is dull, a turn off, not mass market enough. You scramble to meet the demands of the market, the trends, and you realize you've just sabotaged yourself.

A published author’s scenario...You've signed a multi-book deal and the fear of not meeting deadlines triggers more insecurity. You aren't sure if you're ready to make the next leap and it creates unnecessary paranoia. Even destroys the writing career you've always dreamed of having. You get dropped by your agent and you're back at square one but now your publishers have put you on the 'do not buy anything from this author again because she can't handle a real writing career' list.

Or, you're a successful ePubbed author. You are content, comfortable. Secretly you never want to move beyond ePublishing because you fear success. You feel inadequate and don't think you can obtain something more than what you currently have. You limit yourself by never taking risks and submitting to NY. You're terrified of going outside the writing box and when you're at the end of your ePub career, you regret not trying because you think rejection would destroy you.

3. Envy ... everyone around you is selling multi-book deals and you're the only one who hasn't yet. Not that you'd begrudge your friends of their wonderful news, but you feel like you're never going to be the one to share a bit of good news in the near future. So you slide down that slippery slope of anger, then envy builds up until you can't see past the green. You can't see through the truth. You become disgruntled and bitter and soon no one wants to be around you anymore. You find yourself alone and wallowing in self-pity when all of it could be avoidable.

Okay, so I've gotten a bit melodramatic near the end but those points I've highlighted aren't necessarily bad--to an extent. I won't lie, I've been there on occasion, but never so much that it would affect my vision. Vision meaning that I am a writer and I know someday everything will fall into place. I'll get the NY contracts, I'll get the readership, and I will get to a level where I'm satisfied with my voice. The power of the mind can repel any kryptonite. When you allow yourself to wallow, continue to wallow, your production goes down, your self-confidence goes down, and your fear comes out the winner. Look, if you have the drive and desire to succeed, you'll do it. It's like turning down the lights around you so you can focus. Lights in this analogy is the loud voices of fear and disappointment, it's the gritty reality around you, it's the loved ones who think you're wasting your time on a pipe dream. Turn the lights down until you are the sole creator in front of the computer. You are the person in charge of your universe and when you've reached the stopping point for the day...everything doesn't seem so bad after all.

You are your own worst enemy.

Embrace the fear for when you don't, it will consume you.


Kytaira said...

I think these doubts can be applied to many things. I am starting a new job on Monday and recongnized myself in some of you comments.

Jax Cassidy said...

Good luck on your new job! Just remember that it's okay to fear, but it's more liberating to use that fear as a way to grow and learn. Thanks for stopping by!