fear, writing a book, confusing, embarrassment, help, frustrated

Two Fears You Need to Work on to be a Successful Author

To be a successful author, there are two fears you need to conquer. Before I jump into what those fears are, let me talk about success.  If you do a quick Internet search, you will surely see success defined in several ways. As an author, success to me is about achieving the desired goal. Today, the desired goal is to make a living writing several books a year. Initially, success was writing anything at all. In my early days of writing, finding the time was the hardest part. I was overjoyed when I could get words on a page.

What is your desired goal? Do you have grand dreams of becoming an author but have not been able to get the book “out of your head” and down on paper. In that case, long-term success could be writing the book, but short-term success could be reaching your daily word count.

I completely understand that some people will want to write for pleasure while others will want to earn a living with their craft. My point is you get to define what success looks like for you.

I hope that takes a little pressure off.

Two Fears

Two crucial things that keep writers from becoming actual authors are:

  1. Fear of failure
  2. Fear of embarrassment

Fear of Failure

This morning I was reading a short interview with Sarah Blakely. For those of you who are not familiar with Sarah, she is the founder of Spanx. She spoke of two fears in her interview. She pointed out that the fear of failure is one of the most common reasons people don’t move forward with their dreams. They don’t want to fail. Of course, she spoke of business, but in reality, many want to be authors never write a book for the same fear. The unknowns become overwhelming, and self-doubt grabs hold so tight that the fear of failure is immobilizing.

Fear of Embarrassment

Embarrassment is another reason people remain stuck. As writers, we can get so wrapped up in what others think we stop midway through our writing projects. I once got to chapter eight of a book before the fear of failure set in. I couldn’t get past the thought of being a laughing stock of the writing community. Harsh personal criticism, I know, but it was my reality. I put the book away and didn’t write again for years.

Overcoming Fears

So, how do we overcome these fears? It is easier than you think. First, you have to be intentional about moving forward. State what you are afraid of and work to remove that cognitive distortion. If you deal with self-doubt, counter that doubt with positivity. Remind yourself of your successes. You can set small goals for yourself to accomplish, and when you do, celebrate those successes. This is something I often do.

With fear of embarrassment, Sarah mentioned she intentionally seeks out embarrassing situations so that the fear of embarrassment loses its power over her. I agree! The more I find myself in awkward situations, the more they just don’t rattle me anymore.

My Embarrassing Story

Truth be told, I encountered a colossal embarrassment with my first book, Broken to Beautiful: Brokenness is not the end of your story. I self-published the book. My mentor taught me the ropes, and I did what I was told to do. I got so wrapped up in the process that I missed a grammatical error that was pretty prominent in the book. I didn’t find the mistake until my husband had contacted his entire family, encouraging them to buy the book.

In the back of the book, I have a section called Favorite Scripture Verses. However, instead of noting verses, I had versus! I was horrified. What kind of Christian am I? I know better, yet I completely missed it, and in this case, so did spell check. I thought I was going to die from complete and utter embarrassment. After all, this was my first book. All of my family and friends were set to purchase the book to show their support.

Here’s the good news. I can now laugh about the situation. My mentor taught me that I simply needed to fix the book’s error and upload the corrected version. Easy peasy! It took me less than five minutes to fix the error, so really, I stressed for nothing. Sure some family members got the book with the error. Now, it is just a funny story we get to chuckle about during the holidays.

Cheering for You

Friends, the only way to get over the fear of embarrassment is to put yourself out there. You will never know how people will perceive your book if you don’t give them a chance to read it. You will never learn the process of publishing a book unless you do it. You may make mistakes just like me, but don’t prevent yourself from experiencing your dream of success. Whatever that may be.

I am cheering for you!


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