Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's Holding You Back? Part 1: FEAR

Today I’m going to kick off my “What’s Holding You Back?” series of Seekerville posts by time traveling through a few pages of my “Writer’s Journey” journal that I’ve kept since 2004.
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As most of you know, the 15 writers who make up “The Seekers” kept bumping into each other in the finals circles of various contests for unpublished writers, officially joining together in August 2005 to encourage and pray for each other. To our excitement, about half were contracted to be published over the first few years of our uniting. But by summer of 2007, a number of us wondered if “aspiring” and "unpubbed island" would become a permanent part of our identity. Enthusiasm—and hope—waned as we ran into wall after wall. We’d been writing—and winning—for years. Was our dream to share our stories with the world only to remain a dream?
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That’s when our intrepid Tina asked those of us who were still unpublished if we’d like to form a short-term Seeker sub-group, just for a month or two, to prayerfully dig deep into where we were, where we wanted to be—and to (hopefully!) discover if God was leading us to be a published writer at all. The initial discussion was to include “what has worked and what hasn’t; how BAD do you want it; step-by-step planning; how we can help each other; commitment; and prayer.” Tina added: “Will send out invitations and a box of Kleenex and two Hershey kisses.”
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In late August we kicked off “Plan B” with Tina sending a questionnaire and asking us to write a brief response relating to each issue.
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1) A list of all your viable manuscripts, with each category listed, and history of submissions/rejection and where those manuscripts are sitting right at the moment.
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2) List of with whom and how often you are actively critiquing.
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3) How bad do you want to sell?
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4) Can you still see yourself selling?
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5) How close are you to giving up?
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6) What are your fears?
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7) Where is God in all of this?
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8) A few scriptures that personally encourage you regarding your writing.
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On September 5, 2007, when Tina sent each of us the compiled Plan B responses to review and pray about, I wrote this in my journal: “Amazingly, all of us have so much in common in our responses. Fear that we're not good enough—are fooling ourselves. Fear that we've taken too much time away from something else God wants us to be doing. Fear that we don’t have enough time to do all the additional things that being published requires. Fear that there's something we're not '"getting" that is holding us back. Fear that time is running out. So, we're all going to pray -- for direction, for energy, for focus, for thinking outside the box.”
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That was the beginning of our Plan B “revival.” Each of us digging deep inside. Asking ourselves--and each other--hard questions. Going even deeper with God. Not looking for an overnight quick fix or “band aid” answer, but long-term commitment to seeking out what was deep in our hearts--and God’s. Praying for each other.
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These were my response to Question #6: What are your fears?
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Fear # 1) I've wasted a lot of years
pursuing something that isn't in God's plan for me and missed out on the things I should have been doing and am better equipped to do.
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Fear # 2) I'm deluding myself in thinking I will ever have what it takes to be successfully published. Talented writers are a dime a dozen, and I honestly wonder if my stuff is good enough. It's one thing to win a contest with opening chapters--but do I have solidly constructed, entertaining stories throughout? If I do, can I sustain that in book after book?
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Fear # 3) Being published will only add more stress to my life than I can deal with and demand more time than I'm at liberty to put toward it.
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Fear # 4) Being under a book contract and incapable of producing a book on deadline.
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Fear # 5) Disappointing my readers. I used to think of my future Readers as "a partner in imagination." But entering contests for so many years has gradually caused me to see readers as “judges” with standards I can never hope to satisfy. Why is it we only remember the condemning, ugly things judges say and not the beautiful things some write to us?
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Fear # 6) I can't plot my way out of a paper bag. When I know where I'm going, I can write 5 pages M-F in a mere 60-90 minutes per day. That's 25 pages a week. 100 pages a month. A 400 page book in 4 months. Entirely doable. Sounds so simple. BUT when I lose confidence in my plots/conflicts, I stall out and start floundering.
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Fear #7) I’m attempting to write in the “wrong” genre. Although my single title, 1st person chicklit-flavored romantic suspense/mysteries are winning awards, is this really want I want to write? Is it my best-fit niche?
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That was Autumn 2007--where it started for the Seeker Plan B Team. Naming and facing our fears. Giving them once more to God. With our own “Dr. Phil” (Tina) encouraging us to ask ourselves hard questions, we prayerfully forced ourselves to look at “what’s not working” and started thinking outside the box of fears we’d allowed ourselves to become trapped in.
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As the months passed, we came to learn that FEAR--if you face it--isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can be healthy. Enable us to be proactive. Avoid pitfalls. Fear drove us to re-evaluate. It sent us scurrying to prayerfully seek guidance. Fear allowed us to be alert and prepare in advance how to deal with situations we knew we’d be facing as published writers. It made us make decisions and take steps so that family, friends, church, job, community wouldn’t be cast by the wayside as we pursued the publishing dream.


For me, prayer regarding “Fear #7” led me down a path I hadn’t anticipated—in spring 2008 stepping out of the boat and testing the waters of switching genres--writing a heartwarming small-town romance rather than murder mystery/suspense. That “experiment” won the first and only contest I entered it in—the Golden Pen.
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Due to the contest win I received a request for a full manuscript from a Steeple Hill editor in December 2008--and all those fears I thought I’d dealt with over the preceding year had to be faced once more. I knew had a choice to make. I could send in the manuscript or not sent it in. God was opening the door, but he wasn’t going to force me to go through it. After much prayer and soul-searching, I decided to trust God and step through the door—still afraid.
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I got “the call” at 7:25 a.m., Friday, January 23, 2009—a mere week after my manuscript landed on the requesting editor’s desk.
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No doubt about it, the past two years have been hard work. Writing is a business and must be treated as such, even when you have a family, full-time job or other commitments to which you owe allegiance. But I can honestly say that after the first (somewhat panicky!) year of uncertainty with the newness of it all, I LOVE IT.
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My worst fears have thus far not come to pass. I’ve met deadlines. I’m learning to better plot out my stories ahead of time so don’t flounder mid-stream. I’m staying (relatively!) balanced in my commitments (there’s always room for improvement). With each book I get better at organizing my time. My first book won awards--and I’ve received wonderful reader letters. I have two more books coming out this year and another under contract. I have a strong sense of peace that I’m where God wants me at this point in my writing life.
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On December 31, 2008, having at last decided to submit the requested manuscript to Steeple Hill, I wrote in my writing journal: Thank you, Jesus, for giving me this opportunity. Please help me to be faithful to it. To always remember they’re ALL your stories. That I wouldn’t be writing if you didn’t have a plan for it. Thank you for caring about my dreams. Thank you that you listen to and answer my prayers. Thank you for allowing me to partner with you. Thank you that my best days—my best stories—are still in front of me. And that you can use them to draw others closer to you.
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If you’re NOT yet published, what about being published do YOU fear the most?
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And if you ARE published, what fears did you have pre-publication---and did they come true? Did you do anything in advance to prepare to meet those fears head on in order to proactively compensate for them?
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Next month we’ll take a look at another “What’s Holding You Back?” topic gleaned from my writing journal!
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If you’d like to be entered in a drawing for a copy of my brand new “Second Chance Courtship,” please mention it in the comments section and leave your e-mail addy (remember “at” and “dot”).
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Glynna
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Glynna Kaye’s Steeple Hill Love Inspired “Dreaming of Home” is a 2010 “Carol Award” and “Maggie Award” finalist, as well as a first place winner of the “Booksellers Best” and “Beacon” awards. Her next books(also set in Canyon Springs, Arizona)are “Second Chance Courtship” releasing February 2011, and “At Home In His Heart” debuting August 2011!

99 comments :

  1. Coffee pot's set.

    I'm terrified of just about everything on this list. The idea of self promotion is especially intimidating.

    I also relate very much to that idea of time running out.

    Helen

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  2. Glynna, thanks for taking on a topic many of us find hard to talk about. We read posts about persevering and keeping a positive attitude, which are good and helpful. However, fear is a very real part of a writer's like, and you've given us a great example of what can happen when we don't give in to it.

    I didn't realize the Golden Pen was the only contest in which you entered your wonderful story, the one that resulted in your First Sale. I'm so glad you conquered your fears and submitted that entry so readers could enjoy your winning story in book form.

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  3. No coffee for me, yet. I'm still planning to sleep a little! Have plenty for later, though . . .

    Oh Glynna . . . Everything I've read the last few days tells me to quit stalling and just get on with it already. It's so easy to make excuses and put off submitting. Just keep polishing. Make it better. It's not perfect yet. I have to finish that synopsis, and it's hard.

    Thanks for this extra shove. I'd love to win your book, and I may just print out this post to keep close by my computer!

    Regina

    trmerrick@bellsouth.net

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  4. Some of you may know that I lost my job and I've been home for a month, writing full time. First- I absolutely love it. Second- I really faced fear this week. I'd put myself on deadline and I've kept it.

    The fear lies in the fact that my excuses are used up. Now I have to act. Will my beta readers 'julienne' my ms? Will I be able to cut 10k words away and survive? Will I fall apart if I submit and nobody likes it? Will I be able to do this all again if they do?

    The Lord gave me this opportunity to write but I also have to find a real job. The fun's over. I could use prayers that my perfect job is just around the corner!

    Glynna, for me, this post was God's timing perfectly. Thank you.

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  5. Good morning, Helen, and thank for putting the coffee on again! You sound a little bit like Charlie Brown reporting to Lucy the Psychiatrist. LOL When she asks him what he's afraid of and rattles off a whole list of potentials, he yells THAT'S IT!! :)

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  6. Keli -- While God does say "do not be afraid," he also has given us a natural, healthy ability to fear so we'll take appropriate precautions. We can choose to let him use the healthy fear to assist us us in evaluating the situation and planning ahead to compensate for those very legimate fears. And ask him to make it clear when the fear is F.E.A.R (false evidence appearing real) that is holding us back and we need to move forward--even though FEELING afraid.

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  7. REGINA -- Once we've dug deep and prayerfully evaluated our fears to determine if they're "legitimate" or false, deceptive alarms, we have choices to make.

    I know exactly how you're feeling. I NEVER DID submit a query to an editor--except via entering contests. Too scared. Didn't feel ready. The time wasn't right. "Knew" I couldn't meet deadlines working full-time. Honestly, if it hadn't been for the Golden Pen win and request, I doubt I'd have gotten up the courage to query an editor to his very day! My fear didn't give God much to work with there. LOL

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  8. DEBRA -- Prayers are with you that you find an ideal job. One even BETTER than the last! I know how scary the application, interview and waiting process is for a new job. Makes submitting a query or manuscript to an editor seem like a walk in the park in comparison.

    I admire you for using your time off to set goals and deadlines for yourself--and then meet them! That takes a bucket full of courage right there!

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  9. Glynna,

    Thanks for sharing this post. I copied down the questions Tina sent you all to dig deep into what might hold me back.

    My two biggest fears are: 1. Self promotion (i.e. blog, website) those things I'm not that familiar with. 2. Finding out I've been kidding myself and nothing I write is worth publishing.

    I, too, tried writing in a different genre. My first three manuscripts were romantic/suspense, which I liked writing. But recently I started a western historical and I LOVE it! The writing has gone smoother and my story is stronger.

    Please enter me for a chance to win Second Chance Courtship.

    Thanks
    --Kirsten
    kanavyhist[at]aol[dot]com

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  10. Morning Glynna, What a great post. I'm with Kirsten in my fear of the social media. yikes. I thank God for the Teenster. And for you. You've helped me overcome many fears by the example you set.

    Debra, I'm praying for that perfect job for you also.

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  11. KIRSTEN and SANDRA -- Man can I relate to the fear of social media. I just flat out don't have time to do facebook & twitter & a ton of promotional blogs and I struggle to keep my web site updated. Maybe on down the road when I'm not working full-time I'll do better. Because of my hearing impairment, I'm scared to death of book signings, but have managed to do several--with another on the horizon. GULP.

    And Kirsten, I have a feeling that since God's given you such a strong desire to write and a love of writing that He's planted plenty of stories in you that are worth publishing.

    Isn't it amazing how finding your "niche" can make all the difference? I'll be addressing that issue in an upcoming "What's Holding You Back?" post.

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  12. Glynna,
    Wonderful post : ) I can imagine how all of those things you listed would be so hard to face. I am so proud of you for overcoming your fears and if not, at least working on it.

    You're being an awesome role model! I mean, I'm not a writer (how many times have we heard that one?!) but this completely and totally relates to my life right now in a moer general sense. I have nad self esteem, self confidence. We're talking lower than low! Lol...and always put myself down because that's "what's right". I'm used to it and by now it's become a part of who I am. BUT I am trying to work on it. Trying...lol doesn't seem to mean much but in my heart I know it does. Some of my closest girlfriends are really upset by it, they don't want me being this way anymore so they're helping me which in and of itself those friendships must be sent from God! LOL! They're truly amazing (including you, Teeny Tiny :P )...

    However this has involved me shopping for me, learning makeup, not talking bad about myself, and ummmm maybe just maybe going for that certain guy ; ) All of which have been haaaaaaaaaard! Lol and I know it won't get any easier, but if you're willing to put in the effort, good things will come.

    Seeing you strive, Glynna, and showing me that patience and faith are key really hit the spot today. Thank you so, so much!
    *big hugs and love* Be back later!
    Hannah
    P.S. I'd love to try for a copy of your book! Regretfully I never got to the store to buy it *bad Hannah* And I absolutely adored your first!! Can't wait to read this sometime : )
    hccelie(at)gmail(dot)com

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  13. This is an amazing post and sure brings back memories.

    Thank you for reminding us how faithful God is.

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  14. This post is definitely a keeper. Fear is such a big thing and has held me back in writing and in other areas of life. Your list is spot-on and I have all those fears, and then some!

    What's so strange about fear is that it is so paralyzing. You can't move forward. You can't write. And being a writer is all about writing. The love of writing is what makes us writers, not just getting published. It is what we want, of course, but if fear is keeping us from what we love, then somehow we must push through and conquer the fear, trusting God to help us do so.

    GREAT POST!!!!!

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  15. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraJanuary 26, 2011 at 8:03 AM

    Congrats on your books Glynna! I agree with your list of fears and wish you the best of luck! I will keep you and all of the authors in my prayers. Thank you for sharing with us!

    fantumATsbcglobalDOTnet

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  16. HANNAH - You're in a "scary" stretching & growing spot right now. New world. New experiences. Trying to figure out where you fit in to it all. Wanting to honor God in your decision making. So contintue to trust that he knows what he's doing and loves you right where you are. You're a beautiful young woman, so be gentle and patient with yourself!

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  17. TINA - I have YOU to thank for asking us the "hard" questions in 2007. For being my personal "Dr Phil" when I was caught in my fears and stuck in at rut. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

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  18. SHERINDA -- Sometimes we don't even realize it's niggling fear holding us back. Or maybe only in rare moments do we recognize it, then manage to quickly shove it far to the back of our mental closet, not wanting to admit it--or deal with it. So even though we feel paralyzed, we come up with all the reasons in the world except for the REAL ONE.

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  19. oops, sorry Sherrinda. My sleepy finers left an "r" out of your pretty name!

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  20. LAURA - All of us here thank you for your prayers! We can use all we can get! Writing to be published isn't for the faint of heart!

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  21. Glynna,
    I think you've been spying on me because I can relate to everything on the list.
    Thanks for putting our fears in perspective.

    Blessings,

    Edwina

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  22. EDWINA - I guess fears--and in particular WRITER fears--are universal!

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  23. I knew the exact moment I saw your heading and the first line of this blog post that you were going to talk about

    PLAN B!

    Plan B was an eye-opening experience. I think I'll go back and read every bit of my notes. Yes, I still have my folder with my answers to the questions, and our online chats.

    What made it work was the fact that we were already so close as sisters, that we really could open up to one another.

    We also knew that what was said in Seekerville stayed in Seekerville, so it was okay to spill our guts!

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  24. Ooooh - Fear 3 is my BIGGEST for sure.

    What a fabulous post! Looking forward to next month. NEEEEEDDD this!

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  25. Glynna, thanks for sharing how you overcame fear--even made it work for you--and thought outside the box. I love your small-town romances!

    A huge hug to Tina for leading the charge with Plan B! And to all of you for grabbing hold of Plan B and forging ahead, letting nothing hold you back!!!

    I suspect fear is common to writers. I certainly experienced it and still do with every book. I blame my vivid imagination for taking me to the darkest scenario faster than chipmunk on steroids.
    Whatever the reason, I shared all your fears except writing in the wrong genre. Fortunately for me the genre I love and write--historicals--came back into favor before I finished writing my first contemporary.

    I brought coffee and green tea this morning along with English muffins and scrambled eggs. Did you know green tea helps get rid of belly fat? With a little honey, it's not too bad.

    Janet

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  26. PAM - I think PLAN B was a turning point for me and brought us even closer together. That's where we first spun off into smaller critique groups, too--and your and Sandra's input and encouragement has been such a treasure.

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  27. WOW, Glynna, what a powerful post!! My hat's off to all the Plan B'ers, especially the Teenmeister for grabbing the bull by the horns on this fabulous plan.

    My biggest fear pre-publication was Fear # 2) I'm deluding myself. I knew that I liked what I wrote -- cried, laughed, got angry in all the right places -- but would anyone else feel the same way?? I honestly did NOT know if I was a decent writer or not, and that haunted me until I started finaling and winning in contests, which is why contests were so important in building my confidence.

    But the most shocking thing is that I thought if I got published, it would validate me as a good writer. Uh, WRONG!! It didn't matter how many 5-star reviews I got, as far as I was concerned I was only as good as my last 1-star review. That is, until God took me to task, scolding me in my spirit that by giving the 1-star reviewers more power, more importance, more attention than the 5-star reviewers, I was basically demeaning the very people who supported me, went out of their way to write and encourage me. I was shocked, because I had never looked at it that way before, and I immediately repented and prayed to change my ways, which I have ... for the most part. After all, nobody's perfect, right? :)

    So now I finally recognize that although my writing is not for everybody nor will everybody see something good in it, it does appeal and reach a few brave souls who apparently are as emotional and over the top as me -- YAY!! :)

    Very important post, Glynna -- thanks for writing it.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  28. Glynna, I can relate to a lot of the fears you mentioned:( Like "am I deluding myself," to think that I'll have what it takes to be successfully published; or when there's a deadline "What if I get writer's block?" There are lots of fears running through my mind that I need to remind myself regularly of that verse in 2 Timothy 1:7 "God doesn't want us to be shy with His gifts, but bold and loving and sensible." (Message). Thanks so much for the helpful questions to ask myself...great points to ponder:)

    I would love to be entered for a chance to win your new book "Second Chance Courtship!"

    blessings,
    Lorna
    lornafaith(at)gmail(dot)com

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  29. Goodness. That should have come with a tissue warning!

    Yes. Fear and I know each other well. If I could just camp in the platform building stage I'd be a happy camper since I love all that. Love it and it seems God has given me skill in that department. So my fear is that I'm spending time writing when I should be just doing and developing the sites I have going (some of which help other writers build their platforms LoL). Maybe that's my purpose in the scheme of things... I just don't know.

    Almost every one of the fears you listed hit home with me. Some days I feel like I'm living in a top-loading washing machine, being whipped one way then jerked another then spun 'till I'm about dry only to have gallons of water dumped on me. Repeat the process.

    Thanks for this post. It's given me much to think about. I bought Second Chance Courtship on Monday and will be starting it as soon as I finish Tina's (which will be today. LOVE it!!).

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  30. GOOD MORNING, JOANNE! Yeah, Fear #3 is a potential biggie. I knew from the start I'd have to be very disciplined and figure out a "best way for me" to do things so I could arrange writing time. I knew, too, there would be some things writing-related I'd have to say no to even though I'd love to participate and be more visible "promotionally." But there are only so many hours available in the day.

    What I'm finding is that the more I write the more I'm getting a handle on things. It was a rough and rocky ride the first year of publication as I didn't know what to expect, so would get blind-sided over and over. But things are leveling out now. PANIC CITY. Believe me, it's 100% better than it was a year ago.

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  31. #2 is my biggest fear. That I'm deluding myself and that I'm a no talent hack. At best. And that my hubby and my best friend don't want to hurt my feelings though they promised to tell me the truth and the others who've read my completed MS are kind as they pity me. [Andrea - that includes you ;). She finished it yesterday.]

    I know on some level that seceral doezen people wouldn't lie to me - especially the random "OH MY COW!" emails in mid-book, but still...

    But if that's really true, then the other stuff [like self-promotion, etc] won't matter.

    Regardless, I'm going to type away with a goal of writing two chapters worth today [if I can with an extra kiddo home]. This MS is going to be nearly 100K when the rough draft is done and will likely need to be chopped by 10-15K [but I know it's insanely redundant too so that'll help].

    /sigh/

    Thanks for sharing Glynna. I appreciate it. It helps to know it's not just me...

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  32. JANET -- I'm sure the vivid imagination that enables us to enter make-believe worlds and make them come alive for readers DOES play a big role in blowing our fears out of proportion!

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  33. JULIE -- You've shown SO MUCH COURAGE in following God's leading for your stories. And you're so right--we let the negative carry far too much weight than it deserves. You have a TON of faithful fans and I know how much you appreciate their encourgement and support!

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  34. Er, right.

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

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  35. LORNA -- That's a great and very applicable verse. God really has to keep nudging some of us to listen to HIM.

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  36. So insightful, Glynna.

    Fears two, four and six are the biggies for me at this point--especially six. I'm a half-pantser so, in completing my current project, I got stuck when it came to the climax--the CLIMAX! Ugh! It made me question so much of my story. That's not necessarily bad, but it isn't a confidence booster either.

    Turning things like that over to the Lord works wonders.

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  37. PATTY -- Sometimes life DOES seem like the spin cycle on steroids, doesn't it!? I think often that's what makes it so hard to hear that "still small voice" on a consistent basis.

    I had no idea when I "went deeper" over those long months of soul-searching if I'd finally discover whether or not writing toward publication was or wasn't in God's plan for me. But I knew that over time He would make it clear which road to take and that he'd bless either road. And I knew for certain if I got off on the wrong one for a time, he'd get me back on the right one.

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  38. No, CAROL M, it's NOT just you! It seems most writers have an underlying insecurity. It takes a LOT of courage to put your heart into a book and risk judgment and rejection. I think rejection is one of the most major fears of any human being. And as writers, we must deliberately set ourselves up for it!

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  39. SANDY -- I'd been a total Panster in my "previous life." Now I do the "Planster" route and am gradually becoming more and more comfortable with it. Knew if I must write to a deadline on a limited amount of writing time each day, I must learn how to be consistent in what I produce. Preparing a high level structure that forces me to answer important questions that sustain the "muddled middle," gives me story direction, but leaves me tons of room to do the panster thing, too. It was one of those "what's not working?" questions that led me to find a method that works best for ME. I think finding that takes time and I'm tweaking it with every book I write.

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  40. Thanks for stopping by this morning, everyone! I think we're discovering we ALL have more in common than we ever dreamed.

    Well, I have do dash. Have to be out-of-pocket for awhile. Will check in later!

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  41. A radical splinter group of Seekers.

    Try gettin' through airport security with THAT on your resume.

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  42. Losing an editor is always bad. And PAGING SANDRA LEESMITH! Email me, Sandra!

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  43. Oh my gosh - you Seekers are scary! Every post, this week and last, is dealing with my exact issues!

    The episodic piece was a direct hit and I went back to look at a rejection letter from Melissa Endlich. She had a whole sentence about my story being 'episodic'. Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to fix it.

    And the fears, boy Glynna, you nailed those down! LOL. Especially the one about not being able to 'plot myself out of a paper bag'. That made me laugh out loud. My problem exactly. I must have every book on PLOT and taken numerous online courses, but something is eluding my brain. Any secrets you can share about overcoming this particular problem?

    Would love to win a copy of your latest! Thanks for reminding us we are not alone. And to turn our fears over to God. That's about the only thing that's going to work,I think!

    Cheers,

    Sue
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

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  44. Glynna, why were you in my head???

    Man, this is me. All the way. Everything from 1 to infinity. But your post is so very encouaring and I appreciate you starting this series! I can honestly say I am eargerly waiting for part 2.

    I would like to be entered, thank you. :)

    Caseymh18(@)Gmail.com

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  45. Hi, Glynna! Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share your fears and anxieties with us.

    I think my biggest fear at this point is that no matter how much my readers enjoy my story, I won't find an agent/publisher who thinks it's good enough.

    My second fear is that if the ball does get rolling, my health with interfere with future deadlines. If only my doctor is right and I'll be symptom free in three months, I'll be shouting from the housetops!

    My third fear is an ever present angst for me...balancing everything in my life.

    My fourth (I know you only asked for one) is not finding local writers who would like to form a group and if we do that the group won't be productive. I'm considering starting my own ACFW chapter here in Lexington, SC. I have no idea what it would take to do that, but I'm starving for face to face fellowship with writing friends. I think I'd go nuts if I didn't have you all!

    Please count me in the drawing:
    lr dot mullin at live dot com

    ~Linnette

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  46. Time for another cup of hot tea, me thinks!

    ~Linnette

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  47. Lovely post, Glynna!

    I didn't know about the sub-group. That smart Tina!!!

    God listened! :)

    Before I published, I kept getting the word "courage." I still focus on it when the self-doubts whisper in my ear. Courage is what all writers need...the courage to trust is our own ability, the courage to step out in faith, the courage to submit and allow rejection to roll off our backs and not stop us dead in our tracks.

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  48. Oh, Glynna, how well I remember those "Plan B" days! On my office bulletin board I still have the Albert Einstein quote Tina gave us:

    "Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

    That was much-needed encouragement to break out of our writing ruts and bravely try new approaches.

    And I can't tell you how much the prayer support meant--and still does! When fear and doubt rear their ugly heads, it's reassuring beyond measure to know my Seeker sisters have my back.

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  49. My verse of the year (or years since it's already 2011 and this verse is still going strong) is Joshua 1:9. We are commanded to be strong and courageous in whatever God has called us to do. So once we get past fear #1 we need to be courageous in spite of all the other fears. So I just tell myself to put on my big-girl panties and dive in there....contest deadlines are coming up!

    Thanks for the green tea, Janet. I like mine straight - no honey thank you. I brought blackberries from my freezer to share. The taste takes you back to summer, doesn't it?

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  50. This post is HUGE. Thanks Glynna for opening up the door to put our fears on the table.

    I share a lot of fears with your pre-pubbed self. The biggest ones right now are that I don't have a clue what I'm doing, that no one will ever want to read what I write, that maybe I'm writing the wrong stuff. I've taken steps to face my fears, like not waiting for the muse to write, entering contests, etc. but I can do more.

    It's been amazing to watch the Seekers move off Unpubbed Island. Such an inspiration.

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  51. Glynna, thank you for being so honest about the fear you felt before publishing. Although I'm hoping to make my dream of a writing career come true, the potential reality of it terrifies me.

    At least now I know that a)I'm not alone and b)it's doable. Your experience gives me confidence to keep working and reaching for that brass ring.

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  52. Great post, Glynna. I would love to read your book so please enter me. Thanks!!!
    jackie.smithATdishmailDOtnet

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  53. Linnette, connecting with other authors in your area is a great idea.

    If there is even ONE ACFW member nearby that's enough. Talking with other writers, for some reason, is just different than any other social interaction. It doesn't mean you aren't having a fine time with non-writers, there are just a bunch of things you can't talk about with non-writers. It's just boring to them.
    Definitely do it.
    Send an email to the ACFW loop and ask for anyone near Lexington to contact you and see where it goes from there.
    We've managed to get a nice little ... ahem .... coven .... of ACFW authors to meet about an hour from me. I make it as often as I can.

    I am also in an RWA group. Not all Christian writers but a few and they're still all WRITERS. Very fun. We just speak a strange language.

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  54. Thanks for this, Glynna, this really speaks to me. So much of this I can relate to.

    Debra, I can relate to you too, I was in your position not long ago, so my prayers are with you. One of my fears is still that I am chasing my own dream when I should be doing more to make money to support my family. Whether writing really is meant to be my third job, whether I can hold up under three jobs at all, much less all the attendant hoopla that comes with being published.

    Promotion is another biggie for me. I'm a very private person and have always been taught that "bragging" is "evil" on top of it. I stink at social media. (Maybe I need antisocial media?)

    And now I'm facing a potentially serious health crisis that makes me wonder whether I should even keep trying. If I get a commitment, would I be physically able to carry through?

    Interestingly, one of the things that seems to be holding me back is other people's fears. Because my stories can't be categorized, don't fit neatly into one genre, I've had agents turn me down because they frankly don't know how to market my books. So I guess we're not the only ones!

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  55. Wonderful post, Glynna!! Thank you for sharing your heart and your fears with us. ~ Since I'm not yet published, I guess my "biggest fear" about being published is that I'll be under contract and suddenly my mind will go blank, LOL! That may sound silly, but I've actually thought about that a little--Thinking how terrified I'd be if the words stopped flowing or coming at all? But---I must remember WHO is in control and WHO placed this desire on my heart. When I remember that, it helps to calm any fears that creep in. ~ I'm bringing some Georgia pecan pie to share today--right out of the oven! Blessings, Patti Jo :)
    P.S. Please enter me in your drawing!
    pattijomoore(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  56. Glynna,
    FANTASTIC post and one I needed to really, really, really (one more) really needed to read.
    It's so much easier to question and procrastinate, than it is to try and trust.

    Sometimes I look at all the 'other' things I can do (or need to do) and wonder how on earth writing will fit between the slices of life.


    But whether I ever publish or not, writing is as much a part of me as cheddar cheese is to a Big Mac.
    I think fear and discouragement go hand in hand a lot of times.
    Oh how much I need to be reminded that in the end it's God's timing at the heart of my effort.
    Don't you think fear happens when we lose sight of His plan and control on our lives, and focus on ourselves instead? I know that's true for me.

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  57. Glynna, what a wonderful post!! So beautifully said. Thanks for sharing and inspiring us.

    I guess my biggest worry came after selling my first book. Can I possibly do it again and sell another??? That sophomore slump was a really scary time.

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  58. I don't know why it's so easy to live in fear in spite of all we know of God's grace, power, and love. Yet we continue . . . This post was a true encouragement. Thanks!

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  59. What a lovely post. I loved hearing about your journey.

    I'm definitely going to print out that list of questions and honestly think and pray about them. Thanks!

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  60. Okay Glynna,

    Confess... when did you slip into my head. boy you wrote all my fears so eloquently.

    I find some things pretty daunting. I'll be on a roll getting things out and then I can hit by something and want to give up.

    Sad that...

    Writing can have such highs and lows. It's awesome to be published, till you begin to watch the sales or the reviews or the lack thereof. Then you begin (well I have) to wonder if you really are a writer.

    I'm afraid to take on a contract when the stories aren't done already. For fear I won't get them done. But it seems given your story and that of others that it can be done. Just have to buckle down and believe in one's self.

    I like the praying part, I've been trying to do that more.

    blessings

    Tina P

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  61. I'M BACK AT LAST! Long, busy day!!

    SUSAN - I don't know that I have any breakthrough tips on plotting, but I think I'm getting the hang of plotting 101. The very basics anyway. I still have a LONG way to go to figure it all out. But I'm now experimenting with something that really helped me with this last synopsis.

    I roughly based a 1-page Word table on the Hero's Journey--you know, "ordinary world/Call to Adventure" stuff. Then estimated which chapters each of the steps should fall in. Approximate place the first turning point should fall, the black moment, etc. So I had the Step #'s in the first column, the names of the steps in the second, the chapter #'s third, then a column for "her" and "his." And in each of the slots for her & his I wrote down what their goal, motivation & conflict were in each chapter. Real high level stuff. A sentence or two.

    Then when I started writing the synopsis it seemed much easier because it had solid, logical structure. My agent approved it right away as did my editor--NO revisions! Now the trick will be to see if I can convert it to a fleshed-out story that does the structure diagram and synopsis justice. Stay tuned!!

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  62. CASEY -- Amazing, isn't it, how we're all in the same boat? Sometimes we get thinking "it's just ME."

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  63. LINETTE -- I can totally understand the fears you mention. Making the "right" agent/editor connection is so important--but it CAN happen. I'm living proof. Sometimes it takes a little longer than we hope, but at the time when I was REALLY ready for an agent, it all came together.

    Health concerns are very real, too. That kept me from pursuing writing for publication for 7-8 years after a serious health setback. But then gradually I came to realize I still had stories inside me God wanted me to tell.

    Balance is something that I think I'd be striving for my whole life even if I wasn't writing. LOL.

    Cohesiveness and trust in a writing/critique group is so important, so it's something worth praying for. I'm constantly amazed that this summer it will be 6 years since God brought the Seekers together. I have no doubt that I wouldn't be published if it weren't for their support, encouragement and prayer.

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  64. DEBBY - You don't remember when we started a PLAN B?

    COURAGE is a word that's definitely needed when writing for publication!

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  65. MYRA -- I remember that quote, too! And another of Tina's favorites "IS IT WORKING?" (Dr. Phil) and "What have you done TODAY to make your dream come true" (or something like that!)

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  66. JAN -- Great verse! One of the quotes I've had framed at my desk for years is: "Don't fear tomorrow. God is already there."

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  67. Hi PATRICIA! Sounds like you're taking some good, strong steps to put overcome your fears. Mark Twain said something along the lines of: "Courage is not the absence of fear, but is acting in spite of it."

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  68. No, MIA, you're not alone!

    "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow."

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  69. MARY - You're right (don't tell Ruthy I told you that, okay?) There's nothing like writers getting together. I LOVE "book talk" with those who truly understand.

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  70. E.C. -- As I mentioned in one of my earlier comments, I totally understand the health-related fears. A verse that I've hung on to tightly since that very rug got pulled out from under me 12 years ago is Jeremiah 29:11: "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

    The rug could get pulled out from under me again. There are no guarantees. But God finally convinced me he had plans for my writing even if but for a fleeting moment in time.

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  71. "CATMOM" -- I can totally relate! I was SO afraid I'd find out I had only ONE publishable book in me. In fact, writing my second published book was such a struggle because those fears kept assailing me, whispering in my ear: "You're a one-trick pony. You'll never publish again. Ever."

    The second book took me far longer than it should have--between fears and computer viruses and all sorts of "fun" like that. But I persevered and came out on the other side, bloodied but victorious. Getting past book #2 proved I COULD write another publishable book and now my confidence has been greatly bolstered!

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  72. PEPPER -- You're so right. We get our eyes off God and on ourselves and then suddenly fears magnify. Like when the apostle Peter in faith got out of the boat and walked on water, only to let his attention be drawn to the waves churning around him instead of Jesus. THAT'S when he started sinking.

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  73. Thank you Glynna.
    I find myself coming back time and again because the articles here are so helpful in fighting the doubts and sense of isolation.
    I think for me, one big fear is that I'm using God's will as an excuse rather than a real reason. I'm not sure how to explain it exactly (sad coming from a writer. ;)
    I guess what I mean is that it's easy to say that everything is going according to God's plan, but am I doing my part? Am I putting in enough effort or am I just saying, it's not in God's plan for me yet?
    I guess the only answer is to just keep trying harder.

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  74. MISSY -- Yes, that "can I do it again" hurdle for the second book was a killer. Very scary. Very stressful. It's like night and day now compard to a year ago at this time.

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  75. RENEE -- All I can say is that I think we're all a bunch of really slow learners!

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  76. JENN - I hope Tina's questions help you to dig deepers and find your answers. It wasn't an overnight revelation for me. It took time. But gradually I overcame my fears enough to step out AFRAID.

    Interestingly, I know that life--with its twists and turns and lessons to learn and re-learn--will probably lead me back around to where under different circumstances and at a new level I'll have to face down a variation of those very same fears once again. Hopefully I'll "get it" faster the next time!

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  77. Hi, TINA P! I can relate to the not wanting to sign a contract until a book is done. My first book published book was completely done before I submitted it to the requesting editor. Then even though I discussed it with my editor and got approval for the idea for a second one, I wrote the WHOLE THING before I submitted it in hopes of a contract.

    On the third one, I had it about 2/3 done when I submitted a proposal for it along with a 1-page blurb of a fourth. I got a 2-book contract out of that, so this fourth book is my first being under contract for the whole UNWRITTEN thing.

    My editor & agent understand my fears (I work full-time), so we agreed on a not-too-agressive deadline for the current one. I'm still a newbie learning how fast I can complete a book. With each one, though, I seem to be learning what works best for me to speed up the process. So it's one day at a time. One step at a time.

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  78. MARY C -- So glad you find your way back to Seekerville! I think for myself this pathway to publication is endeavoring to find a balance between God's part and my part. It's not like there's a line drawn in the sand between the two. That he stays on "his side" and I stay on "my side." It's more of an ongoing collaborative effort. Sometimes he asks me to better discipline myself and put more into it--and other times he says "sit still and let me take care of this."

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  79. Amazing post, Glynna. You touched on so many fears and inadequacies, I fear I'd just repeat your entire post with the fears that come to my mind, LOL! Was that a convoluted sentence or what?

    I fear disappointing people the most. That was my fear as an unpub and carrying through to pub. What if I can't perform to editor, agent, reader expectations?

    What if I'm a fraud??

    That's the lie that creeps through my brain. I know God has not planted the seed of writing for Him in vain. But sometimes, when your receive dismal contest scores, or hurtful critiques, or even worse, no response when you've responded to a requested manuscipt, doubt wraps around me and I feel like apologizing for pretending to know how to write a good romance.

    Well, I feel better now.

    Thanks for the memories of Plan B, Glynna!

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  80. My biggest fear is that I'm wasting my time, writing stories set in regions that are too hard a sell.

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  81. Glynna, thank you for being so brave. It takes a lot of strength to confront fear.

    When I was younger, I use to sing in the advance mixed choir at my school. I was one of only two first sopranos selected from a music department of over two hundred students. But one foul word from my best friend makes me question my singing abilities to this day. Stupid, but even when I was picked to sing solos in church twenty years later in church, I wondered why anyone would bother listening to me.

    When I started writing, I felt that same fear. But this time, I had felt God's call and knew that no matter how long I struggled with the fear, I had to plug on. Sometimes I wonder how I could have ever sold my historical(and I finished a contemporary novel before finding my niche in historical romance,) then I remember that God has a bigger dream for me than I ever could have for myself and He wasn't surprised!

    So as someone who understands that fear, I can honestly say to plug on. Work hard for the time that you can. And trust God with the rest.

    I already have a copy of your book, Glynna so you don't have to put me in the drawing.

    Patty Smith Hall

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  82. Late again, but this way, you get to read all the fabulous posts. So much wisdom from Seekers and Friends!

    Recommended course for overcoming fear: Outward Bound. I came away with "No fear, no guilt." Though like most everyone, I still have my battles. :)

    Debra - so great of you to use this time wisely! Maybe this is the start of something super new!

    Glynna, this was marvelous today, and you did such a fab job in answering everyone. Tina is a great Dr. Phil, but you're the able assistant for sure!

    I think my fear right now, when I let it creep into consciousness, is the fear I won't get it all done AND that I'll miss a comma or leave a space or something when the book is finally pubbed. Even fine tooth combing through! I know sure as the world, it'll get printed and then jump off the page! Yikes!

    I already have your books. No way did your fears come across either! Way to go!

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  83. Loved this post Glynna and it couldn't have come at a better time. I just got a rejection on a proposal and that makes me relate to your #1 fear. But, I just tell myself that I enjoy writing, so that's what I'm going to do. Hope everyone else is finding the joy in writing.

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

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  84. HI AUDRA! Take my word for it, you are NOT a fraud! I've read your books, even in manuscript form, remember? LOVED your ROCKY MOUNTAIN HERO -- saw it in both my Wal-marts this week, so there's still time for Friends of Seekerville to find it!!!

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  85. WALT - I'll tell you what I've told other friends who share that same fear because they're writing what appears to be outside the current market. NO writing in God's economy is ever wasted. We grow personally and in the craft with every word we write.

    If your fear is a nagging one, though, continue to pray (as I know you already are) if God would want you to get your foot in the publishing door with another type of book--then plan to later return to your "first love" when you're an established author. If you don't think that detour is the path he's leading you down, then press on with what you're doing. The market changes constantly and editors are always looking for the next "coming thing." Your stories could fill the bill!

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  86. HI PATTY! Your school friend was probably jealous of your talent back then. Jealousy can bring out the worst in some people. THEY quickly forget the wounding things they said, but their words can stick with US forever.

    That's great advice, Patty, in ALL areas of our life: plug on, work hard, trust God.

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  87. KC -- I can see how Outward Bound might do the trick, but I think it's a litte extreme for me!! :)

    Don't worry TOO much about those dotted i's, crossed t's and AWOL or misplaced comma's. Do your best, but take it from a LOT of published writers--even the NY Times bestsellers--you can have everything down in your manuscript PERFECTLY and confirmed it as correct in your final galleys but due to some mysterious "helping hand" during the publishing process, you find that's not the case when you get the final printed book in your hands. That same fear is probably why I've never read either of my published books in book form yet! LOL!

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  88. EVA MARIA -- I'm so sorry to hear of the rejection. That NEVER feels good. A real gut kick that for awhile can undermine the confidence of a writer. The Seekers allow ourselves 24 hours of "WHINE" -- then we have to dust ourselves off, square our shoulders and move on. Sounds like you're already moving into that "back in the saddle" phase, reveling in the pure JOY of writing. Tweak and submit that proposal again! I think it's our very own Julie Lessman who said she had something like 70 rejections--but look at her now!

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  89. Thank you for sorting out all the doubt in my mind and putting a number beside it. Satan's lies are rarely new, and to know that everyone else has had the exact same fears just reminds me where they come from. Besides, it is pointless for me to doubt what I can do when everything that's good in me is Jesus!

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  90. Great post, Glynna! The fear aspect definitely spoke to me.

    Hugs
    Cheryl

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  91. Oh Glynna,
    I just had to pick you and this post as my blog pick for tomorrow. Love it. Stop by and say hi. This is an important post. You all do such a great job on this blog. I'm going to use your thoughts and advice to help me get through this next book.

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  92. "T" -- you're right. we too often forget the source of so many of our doubts!

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  93. Hey, Jill! Good to "see" you! I'll do my best to pop over tomorrow morning! Your new web site is beautiful!

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  94. Thanks for the timely article. I love writing but many of the same issues have been holding me back. Your comments have been very helpful.

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  95. Thanks for the great and timely article. You addressed so many of my fears. I love writing but many of these fear issues were holding me back.

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  96. One thing I've learned through my exposure to the online writing community is that we have a lot more in common than I ever dreamed. Thanks, Glynna, for your openness in sharing your list of fears. I see mine among them and realize I'm allowing them to hold me back. You've given me a lot to think about here, and now I'm anxious to read the second part. :)

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  97. KATHY M - Hope the post proved to you you're NOT alone! And Seekerville is a wonderful haven where we can congregate, share those fears, get encouragement & find ourselves cheered on by those who understand.

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  98. CAROL - The internet has truly been such a blessing for writers in so many ways. Research, industry news, promotional efforts, and friendships with like-minded people. I feel so much more connected with other writers now than I did 12 years ago.

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