Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jumping off

I'm currently writing some short stories to be published in an e-book anthology later this spring. Can I tell you how much that terrifies me?

"What?" you say. "You're terrified?!? Don't you mean 'ecstatic,' 'excited,' 'thrilled?'"

And of course I'm all of these things, too. But the overwhelming feeling is a bit of terror. And, really, I shouldn't say this out loud because my co-authors read my blog and I don't want to freak them out. (Hi, ladies!) And, geez, isn't this something I've wanted to do for years? For my whole life? I've wanted to write stories and have other people read them, and, hey, if they want to pay to read them, all the better!

So, yes, I'm excited. I'm ecstatic. I'm thrilled. But I'm also scared to death that I'm just not good enough. I'm scared that my stories will be boring, that my writing will be paltry, that my end results will be mediocre. Or even bad.

I'm afraid I will let my co-authors down. I'm afraid they will, across the internet miles, look askance at each other and say, "Oh, erm, yeah . . . these stories of yours are . . . ummm . . . ."

I'm afraid.

But I'm also realizing the fear is part of the process. With any good thing, with any passion, comes the risk of losing it, of failing at it. The risk, the half-crazy leap of faith it takes to accomplish this thing, is part of why we call it a 'dream.' If it were easy or risk-free, it would just be a commonplace task. Just as these words I read in the comment section of this post say, "It takes both risk and failure to define an artist." After all, what good is my art if I only keep it to myself? What good is my dream of writing if I never do anything with it? I have to take some risk to realize my dream, and I may fail a bit along the way. And that's okay, as long as I pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep going.

And the first big hurdle is over. I have ideas for all three of my stories, which will actually be expansions of some flash fiction I've already written. I have the characters already, an idea of who they are and what they struggle with. I have a driving theme, and I even have more than 2000 words on one story, 1300 words of which were written just the other night. Oh, NaNoWriMo, how well you prepared me!

So I keep repeating my mantra: "Write first, edit later. Write first, edit later. Write first." Because those words break down the mammoth, scary, unknown aspect of this project into two very tangible, very achievable goals. Because writing? I can do that. I can get the words on the page. And then, if they don't sound good at first or they ramble or if they're lacking, I can edit them. Magic. And reminding myself of this helps to beat back the panic. "Write first, edit later." I can do that.

Hey, guess what? I'm going to have some stories published. Doesn't that just give you goosebumps?


Felicity said...

That's great! Don't forget to point us to where we can buy them when it's all put together! Congratulations, writer!

Angela said...


Karin Kaufman said...

Amy, you're so right. Fear is part of the process of doing anything of value. I wish it weren't (because I'm such a chicken), but it is.

On the other hand, I've read both your fiction and nonfiction, and let me tell you, you ARE good enough. More than. You know what's really scary? That you're so good at your age (you make me feel old). How good are you going to be in ten years? Now THAT'S scary. :)