Monday, June 30, 2008

Connie Marquise ~ Facing Fear

I have many goals. One of which is to be published.
I have many fears. One of which is to be published.
Becoming a finalist in the Touched By Love Contest of the FHL Chapter led to my being asked to be guest blogger here today. Both experiences had me cowering under my desk! Not comfortable, in more ways than one. (Oh, my aching back!)
I’m ecstatic to be a finalist. So proud. It’s a step in the right direction, and the feedback was invaluable.
It took me two days to tell my husband. No one else knows, except now you guys, of course.
I am also terrified. It’s a Giant Leap in the right direction. But . . . Can I deliver? DO I DESERVE THIS?
Ten years ago, when I quit writing, I convinced myself that life intervened. I needed to concentrate my efforts elsewhere. When actually I’d been near success--an editor having asked for rewrites, with detailed specifics.
I know. The writer’s dream.
Or more specifically, MY nightmare. I love the creating process. Re-writing per my critique group. Sending off that entry to faceless judges. Feedback, positive or negative. No pressure...I mean, would those who volunteered their time ever know if I changed that sentence, conflict or character?
If I didn’t produce, my critique group was there to commiserate life’s misfortune with me. If I didn’t enter, there was no feedback. More importantly, no negative feedback.
No positive, either.
But when you don’t think you deserve the positive, the negative reinforces your belief system.
I’ve probably lost some of you by now. But if what I’m hearing around town is true, eighty-five percent of you are still with me. Saying, “She’s describing ME. I didn’t think anyone else felt this way.”
I’m not published (yet). By that, I’m confessing I didn’t live up to that editor’s hopes for me or my ‘baby’. I sabotaged it, let life intervene, believing I neither could attain it nor deserved it.
And now here I am, with a talent I believe God is urging me to use again, and I had to physically make myself NOT open that Solitaire game instead of my WIP. He brought me close to success before, so I knew I had talent. But I believe I wasn’t writing in the genre He wanted me to, so He didn’t bring me through it. Ah, placing blame where it belongs! Back on my own shoulders.
I see a pattern here. One I’d like to break. I have rejection letters. Every last one encouraged me to continue writing, but they were rejections, nonetheless. Family and friends were more dejected than I. I was right where I thought I should be.
God had more faith in me than I had in myself. And in these ten years, I’ve grown, not only physically J , but spiritually. I’ve learned to place my fears in God’s hands--not easy. I am right where HE wants me to be. I’d like to continue on His path.
One of my core beliefs is that if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
Just thinking about writing this blog has stretched me to look deep into myself. I went online to explore my fear of success. Do you have any idea the number of websites dedicated to self-help topics like this? I was amazed. You mean I’m not the only one who desires and fears success? In delving deeper into this fear, I was drawn to the self-esteem page. Did you know that people who suffer from this “consider themselves unworthy of being cared for. Are poor risk takers. Are typically unassertive in their behavior with others. Are fearful of conflict. Are susceptible to all kinds of fears. Are unable to make an honest assessment of their strengths, qualities and good points. Find it difficult to accept compliments or recognition from others. . .”
In other words, ME!
Not only did this site clearly identify my phobias, it gave me concrete steps to assess and improve myself. I believe God led me to this information. Therefore, He must desire my success this time. Right? And who am I to argue with God?
Why would success intimidate someone?
I’ve thought about this a lot and have concluded that with success will come change. Change is the unknown. I’m a stayer. Yet, you can get used to anything. I’ve learned this in life--in the jobs I’ve held, in the people I’ve known, in the places I’ve moved, in being away from family.
So why not get used to success?
My new motto is taped below my keyboard: Take a chance on me! Every time I open it, I read it. I plan to embrace the change. To go with the flow (cliché alert). If I can get used to anything, why not success? Why not being published?
Everywhere I go now, whether on the internet or outside my home, I sense encouragement coming at me from every direction. At mass last week, our pastor’s message could have been written for me. He said yes, Jesus wants us to come as we are--sinners, the weak and lame, us cowards. But after we come, He doesn’t want us to stay as we are. He wants us to be transformed. God wants us to change. He encourages us to change. He’s given us the means to change.
He brought me to this blog. He brought me through this blog. And I feel a sense of accomplishment, not looming disaster. I’m still AT my computer desk, not UNDER it! Pretty amazing for me. I like the feeling. I wish it for all of you.
If anyone’s interested in a great self-help website, I recommend Go to Tools for Personal Growth and begin chasing away your own fears! Grabbing your own success. Turning those negative vibes into positive ones.
I’d love to hear from those of you who have your own fears and those of you who’ve conquered your fears.

Happy writing,
Connie Marquise

The true secret of success in any work is to interest Mary in it.


Tina M. Russo said...

Thank you so much for being with us in Seekerville, Connie and for so bravely sharing what many of us also deal with. This is very encouraging.

Julie Lessman said...

Wonderful blog, Connie! And in the words of Robert Deniro ... "You talkin' to me?"

Uh, yeah, and everyone else who reads your blog. Thanks so much for addressing the issue of fear in such an honest and open way -- published or unpublished, we all wrestle with it on a daily basis.

And congrats on finaling in the TBL contest -- HUGE accomplishment!! Take that, you lousy spirit of fear!

Ann said...

Connie, thank you for speaking up. A lot to think about there. You do have the courage to change, which is huge, instead of just forgetting about your writing dreams. But you are out there taking those steps!

In Bible School the leaders set up an activity that was supposed to simulate Peter's getting out of the boat and walking on water. Group leaders (like me) had to go through this tub of mysterious white water ahead of the kids and were told if we hesitated we'd sink. Of course, at my size, odds are I'm going to sink anyway but I had to be barefoot and brave for the kiddies. Stepped into water over ooze that proved to be a thick layer of of dry-wall mud covered with water.

The VBS organizers taped this escapade and you should have seen some of the expressions on people's faces! And, different approaches. Some kids stomped right through and others tippy-toed and at least one little one took the scenic route around the tub.

Anyway ... we all made it even though we didn't all look or act like superheroes!

I so appreciate your column this morning.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Good for you, Connie! You're mastering your fears!

Oh, yes, I have fear issues. One of my biggest fears is failing. I do fear success, afraid the stress will overwhelm me and that writing won't be fun anymore. But mostly, I fear NOT succeeding. But even that fear is less and less real to me. Beth Moore Bible studies are really good for overcoming fears!

Melanie Dickerson said...

I should have said, Beth Moore's Breaking Free study and her Living Free study are great for overcoming your fears. Those are the only two I've done, but they're wonderful.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Connie! And thanks for your wonderful post.

I identify with your struggle. I feared failure and still do, but right before I sold, fear of success gripped me and wouldn't let go. I panicked. What if I couldn't write the next book? What if I couldn't handle book signings? Heaven help me, what if I had to make a speech?

I vented to my husband. In a mild tone he said, "If you can't handle it, quit. No one is making you."
What a revelation. Somehow that helped.

Of course this is the same man who asked when I refused to ride the Beast, a huge roller coaster at King's Island, "Do you want to take all the body bags home?" I rode. But climbing every hill and zipping around every curve was terrifying. Publication is kind of like that. LOL


Mary Connealy said...

I remember an email from one of our beloved Seekers a while back announcing a new sale...her second. And she said, "YAY! I'm not a One Book Wonder."

The point is, fear just follows you right along onto the published side of things.

I have a sister who is particularly harrassed by worry. She said she realized a few years ago that if she didn't have anything at all going wrong in her life to worry about, she'd just shift over and worry about world peace or the economy or a cure for cancer or whatever.
In other words, if there was nothing to worry about, she made something up.

Since she just could NOT stop with her daily dose of worry, she started setting aside 'worry time'. She gave herself, at a preset time everyday, fifteen minutes to just worry about whatever came to mind, then that would be it.

I don't know how successful she was at it, but the idea that worry or fear or whatever seems to just be part of the human condition makes me thing that, instead of fighting it, we should just accept it and what the heck...enjoy it!

Janet Dean said...

Mary, I'm not sure about your suggestion to enjoy worry, but I sure am enjoying Calico Canyon!


Melanie Dickerson said...

Well, Mary, um, the only problem with that is that worry isn't enjoyable ?

LauraLee Shaw said...

This was such great information and testimony for me today. Sometimes it seems like whatever is on the other side of my talent is a great big giant just waiting to crush me. Good thing I've got my sling shot. You have encouraged me so much! Thank you.

Cat Schield said...

Congrats on your final Connie. That's very exciting. I know that I did the same thing you did. I gave up writing for 10 years. Actually it was more like writing for publication, but I found that I couldn't get very far into a project before I got stuck. What I lacked was confidence in my abilities (I too had a revision letter I wasn't able to captialize on) and what I had an abundance of was fear of not being good enough.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us. It gave me just the kick in the butt I needed.

Keli Gwyn said...

Connie, Congratulations on being a finalist in the TBL contest.

Thanks for your article and your openness. I think almost every writer struggles with fear at one point or another in her journey to publication. You offer some great insights and helps. I love your motto, "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it." So true.

Mary Connealy said...

I admit that it's a stumbling block, enjoying worry, Melanie. :)

Good luck.

Gina Welborn said...

Mary, you are so weird.

If you weren't married and neither was I, and you weren't a Christian and neither was I, yet you were a lesbian and I was one too, then I'd most certainly ask you out for a drink.

In the most non-stalkerish manner, of course. Last thing I want to do is infer that lesbians are stalkers.


Thanks, Connie, for sharing about fears. I have quite a few of them, although I'm happy to report I don't worry about any. I merely ignore them until the appropriate time.

Yes, I know God does not give us the spirit of fear.

Neither does He give us the spirit of stupidity. Just because Mt. Everest is there, doesn't mean we have to climb it and risk heart-failure or freezing to death. And I'm sure the mountain is covered in human-eating mice. Not that I fear mice.

Anonymous said...

Hi Connie,
...And you were worried about this blog? It was 'mahvelous!'

Seems like you used the strategy, "the best defense is a good offense" to your advantage".

How sneaky of the Enemy to use fear against us, but you reminded us by example to take that step of faith and know that God will equip us to use our talents AND our fears for His purposes.

I suggest the notion of a practical side of fear: if we didn't have to face it, and assorted cousins like self-doubt, we'd lack all that good 'experience' for our characters to draw on.

Debbie Marvin

Mary Connealy said...

So little keeping us apart, Gina. LOL

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Though I can't really identify with those fears you've described about writing - I certainly appreciate your post!

Good luck and God's blessings.

Missy Tippens said...

Yay for you, Connie!! Great post! Thanks so much for sharing. I know you're not alone. I had fear of success at one time, then it morped into fear of failure. Either one can stop the writing.

I'm so glad you're hanging in there!! And congrats on the TBL!!


Missy Tippens said...

And yes, I'll admit I'm the one who Mary quoted. I feared being a one-book wonder! :)


Tammy Doherty said...

Great post, Connie! And congrats on the TBL final.

I fear success, and failure, like everyone else here. I fear having to leave my family in order to be a success (I don't mean leave like never see them again, I mean it as in going to a conference for a few days). I think it's Mary who has a quirk like mine: positive the worst will happen...if the phone rings, it's bad news, etc.

Thanks for the link to check out and thank you, too, to Melanie for her suggestions.

On a side note, Mt. Everest may have mice and probably huge, mutated snow spiders. We should all avoid it!

Anonymous said...

Connie, wonderful words of encouragement. Maybe it's just what God wanted you to write (this blog) so you could encourage others who feel the same way you do, but couldn't admit it to themselves. You are a wonderful writer, and maybe this is one step in getting you closer to getting published.


Pam Hillman said...

Great blog Connie! Wow, so many of us have the same fears, don't we?

I remember a mini-workshop where the hostess asked, What are you afraid of?

She wouldn't take pat off-the-wall answers. She kept drilling down.

In the end, almost all of us admitted to the fear of success.

And Janet, I love your husband's comment about quitting, that nobody's making you do it. Great stuff.

tina pinson said...


I realize I'm a few days late and all. but I just read your post and had to comment. Because I am so right there, sabotaging, feeling like I'm not going anywhere, feeling like maybe God won't let me go anywhere, afraid he will. What you wrote is so me, it's scary.
What am I going to do about that? Well, I'm not totally certain, I did go to the website you suggested and have been looking around.
Really I just wanted to say thank you. I appreciate your being so forthright on your feelings.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

WOW. Excellent post.