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Push forward with your writing dreams even when it’s scary

Sending out a query letter, sharing our writing with a critique group, or even sending a finished manuscript can be scary. The stakes are high: What if we receive negative feedback or are rejected?

It’s easy to get stuck. But doing nothing just breeds more fear, doubt and regret.

What you should know is that for every bad thing that can happen, so can something good. If you’re in a respectful critique group, you’ll hear what’s good about your work, as well as ideas to enhance it. If an agent declines to represent you, you’ll likely receive some bit of feedback that can help you target your proposal differently the next time. Ultimately, you have more information to work with.

That fearful feeling you get about taking a big step is actually an important message.

The key is to just go for it. It’s sort of like jumping into a cold swimming pool instead of inching in a little at a time.

Exercise. To gain some perspective, grab a piece of paper and write down three things that you’ve been avoiding and why. Then list the worst possible thing that could happen and the best possible thing that could happen if you do the thing you fear. Chances are, even the worst possible thing is something you can fix or work around. Next, read “How to Outsmart your Brain,” in which Sara Steeves writes that there is something important we should be doing right now — we just need to outsmart the lizard brain. Her advice: Approach your journey as a series of cliffs instead of as a long and winding road.

Illustration by Dan Morrelle – Creative Commons

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. sarahjamalwriter #

    Great post.:)

    September 21, 2012
  2. Hey Carly, thanks for linking back to my article! Writing out the worst case scenarios is good advice, I always feel more in control once I can name my fear and plan how to survive it. In the end, we can all get better at jumping with a little practice.

    September 26, 2013

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