Overcoming Fear

Last year, around this time, I sabotaged any chance I might have had to win the 2011 Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Contest by waiting until the last possible second to edit my suspense novel and then electronically submitting it two minutes past the deadline (which, by the way, was two minutes after midnight on a Monday morning in January).

Missing the deadline and not entering the contest wouldn’t have been such horrific events if I hadn’t spent most of the week and the entire weekend before the deadline editing the novel (and I do mean the entire weekend – I barely slept).

Why did I do that to myself?  Fear.  Fear of losing the contest, fear of winning the contest and being locked into the terms of the publishing contract that is first prize, fear of having others review the book and tear it apart, fear of never even making it through the first stage of the contest.  You name it, I was terrified of it.

This year, I entered my romantic legal thriller – “Just Dreams” – into the contest at 12:02 a.m. on the very first day of the contest.  What was so different about this year?  I asked myself some very valid questions like:  How will I ever know how far I could get in the contest if I never enter it?  How will I ever find out whether people enjoy my writing if I don’t let anyone read it?  And then there’s the most relevant question:  Why the hell am I writing all these books if I’m too afraid to let anyone read them?  Do you have any idea how much work it is to write a book?!!  But I digress.

Don’t be fooled.  I’m still as terrified as I was last year.  I darn near had a heart attack after I pressed the “Submit” button and I’ve used the “Edit” feature on the site quite a few times since then.  The difference this year is that I refuse to let my fear stop me from trying to realize my dream of becoming a published novelist.  I’m pushing through it to get to where I want to be.

How about you?  What are you afraid of?  Public speaking?  Looking for a new job?  Getting back out there and dating after a divorce or bad breakup?  Wearing a mini-skirt? Making a fool of yourself?  Succeeding? Failing? If your fears are stopping you from living and/or realizing your dreams, then maybe you need to find a way to push through them.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I might get kicked out of the contest at an early stage or I might take it all.  At least this year, I get to find out.


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