Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Overcoming Fear in Writing

with guest blogger Susanne Dietze . 

In 2013, I attended my first ACFW conference. I was a Genesis finalist, and I was eager to meet my agent and my cyber-friends in person. I registered, bought airline tickets, found a dress for the gala, planned a costume for the genre dinner…and then it hit.

Uneasiness. Difficulty sleeping. Pounding heart—you know, all the things our characters experience when they experience fear.

Suddenly, I was afraid to:

  • Leave my kids.
  • Fly.
  • Meet my friends and agent, because they might not like me once they spent five minutes in my non-cyber company.
  • Meet new people (ditto).
  • Speak to editors, who might judge my proposals as stupid, and then forever associate my name with dumb ideas.
  • Lose the Genesis.
  • Win the Genesis.

And so on. I was a freak show, and utterly embarrassed about how I felt. Don’t I trust God? Aren’t I an adult with a modicum of social skills? What on earth is wrong with me?

But fear, as we all know, isn’t always rational. The part of our brains that registers danger, the amygdala, receives sensory information before the thinking part of our brains, the prefrontal cortex, does. That means our bodies react to stress before our brains can judge the validity of our fear. This is a good thing when something life-threatening occurs—say, someone swerves in front of you in traffic.

It’s not always helpful in non-life-threatening situations, though. Like writing. And we writers have managed to come up with our own particular fears:

  • Blank Page Syndrome (fear of sitting down at the computer to start something new)
  • Aptitude Anxiety (fear one’s skill is insufficient)
  • Rejection Trepidation (fear one’s novel will be turned down)
  • Dead Dream Disorder (fear of persistent rejection and no publication ever)
  • Success-o-phobia (fear of the unknown world of published authors)
  • Anti-Climax-Complex (fear of poor reviews or sales once one is published)
  • Follow-Up Foreboding (fear of not meeting earlier successes)

Perhaps you could add a few things to the list, too.

Putting ourselves and our literary babies out there is a daunting thing, no argument. But living in fear isn’t healthy, either. If we let our amygdalas go wild for a prolonged period, we can develop chronic stress from all the anxiety we’re experiencing. That means lower immune function, higher blood pressure, and other physical tolls—not to mention the damage it can do to our emotional and spiritual health.

It’s not always easy to take charge of our fears, however.

My ACFW Conference Fear Beast was challenged when I shared my feelings with my friend, Karen. She marveled, “What an opportunity!”

I thought, yes, ACFW is a good opportunity career-wise, but Karen hadn’t finished.

“What an opportunity to let God meet you in your fears and help you overcome them!” 

That’s when I looked at my fears differently, as a motivator rather than a hindrance. A few things I learned:

  • Do not be ashamed of your fear. Instead, give thanks for it, because it can be used to bring you closer to God. Paul puts it like this: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:9). If we allow it, our weaknesses can set the stage for God to intervene!

  • Handle immediate fears using techniques like deep breathing or meditating on a Scripture verse that helps you focus on what is true. One I like? Matthew 28:20: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

  • Talk to someone trustworthy. Sometimes, articulating our emotions helps us to process them.

  • Respond to your fear. Each of the fears listed above requires work to overcome. If you’re procrastinating because you’re facing a blank page, the best way to remedy that problem is to put something down on paper (you can revise later). If you think your craft could use some help (don’t we all?), get a book, attend a workshop, and/or join a crit group. 

  • If fears won’t go away, remember some fears require work and time to overcome. Choose not to dwell in fear—repeatedly, if you must. Some people picture themselves in a boat, pushing all their worries overboard. Others picture themselves handing their worries to Jesus. 

  • Understand the consequences of living in fear. We’ll never final in a contest or sign a contract if we don’t write or submit. What a shame it would be to live our lives wondering what would’ve happened had we taken the risk. 

  • Accept that failure and rejection are part of the business. I hate how it feels to receive rejections and sad contest scores, but some editors and contest judges were quite helpful and showed me areas I could improve in my writing.

I can still be a bit of a Fraidy Cat, but just so you know, back in 2013 I went to ACFW. I left my kids. I flew. I met friends, my agent, some editors, and lots of new people (and they were all very nice!). I even won the Genesis. Since then, I’ve signed two contracts with a dream publisher, Barbour. None of those amazing, praiseworthy things would have ended in success had I chosen fear over opportunity.

Wherever you are in your journey, I encourage you to be brave today!

Serious Q: What writing fear plagues you most? 
Silly Q: What is scarier: spiders, snakes, or clowns? 

Susanne Dietze is a pastor’s wife and mom who loves fancy-schmancy tea parties and travel. She began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today she writes in the hope of encouraging and entertaining others. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com.

Susanne is offering a copy of The Most Eligible Bachelor Collection here on Seekerville, (Winner announced in the Weekend Edition)but readers can also enter to win two more prize packages today: one celebrates the release of her novella, Love’s Reward, and the other celebrates the release of the collection with prizes from each of the authors. Visit www.susannedietze.blogspot.com to see how!

Follow Suzanne here:

Website: www.susannedietze.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanneDietzeBooks
Blog: www.susannedietze.blogspot.com
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SusanneDietze
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13657688.Susanne_Dietze

Love’s Reward, from The Most Eligible Bachelor Collection:

A rich man’s joke, offering a monetary reward for the capture of a shy architect’s heart—but the game is on for every female in town except a charity-minded miss who won’t compete for the bachelor’s affections. Just his bank account.

Book links:





Susanne Dietze said...

Good morning (or, er, goodnight, depending on where you are)! Thanks so much for having me here. I'm heading off to bed now but thought I'd say hi first. In the morning, I'll bring virtual scones and Devonshire cream.

CatMom said...

LOVED your post, Susanne!! Thank you sooo much for sharing with us, and CONGRATS on your writing success. :)
Yes, fear can be an awful feeling to deal with, but you gave us some very helpful advice.
I love the Bible verse that reminds us that God didn't give us a spirit of fear (I have it highlighted in my Bible and re-read frequently!).

I'm looking forward to your scones and cream in the morning - YUM! I'll set out some Georgia peach muffins too. ;)

Heading to bed myself now, but wanted to say hello and thank you for your post!
Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

Marianne Barkman said...

Thanks, Suzanne for a great post. I'm not a writer, but find that things that work for writers, work for life. A billboard sign said "Everything you want is on the other side of fear" I haven't decided if that is totally true, or not.

Mary Preston said...

A very interesting post thank you.

Keli Gwyn said...

What a great post, Susie! As one who falls prey to fears more times than I care to admit, I appreciate your tips for overcoming them.

My first Love Inspired Historical, Family of Her Dreams, a June release, has already gone out to the Direct-to-Consumer subscribers and is available for order on the Harlequin site. Because of that, I'm bracing myself for an Anti-Climax-Complex. If only I could deactivate my amygdala for a few weeks, all would be well.

Congratulations on your release! How are you doing with the wait for reviews? Have you mastered your fears? Or are they mounting a takeover?

Cindy W. said...

Great post Susanne. When I think about it I have quite a few fears that I try to ignore. One fear is not being good enough in my writing. One of my biggest fears is spiders. This time of year is not my favorite because those creepy crawlies try to invade our house. I am always vigilant looking out for them. I had a traumatic experience as a child and then as an adult I was bitten by a Brown Recluse spider twice within a two week span.

Have a blessed day.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

What a beautiful post on feelings! Susie, thank you for being here today, and for sharing this. I'm about the most insensitive clod walking the planet (and I did that online test to prove it last year!) so it's important to see both sides of people's story!

And no one with such a pretty smile should fear anything. Gorgeous, kid!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Coffee is here!!!! With a fine selection of creamers and caramel shots!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome, Susanne. Such a kick to see so many talented (ACFW GENESIS WINNER!!!) writers sail off the island.

Thrilled to have you here.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Love. Love your book cover. What are you working on next?

Tina Radcliffe said...

Huge scone fan. Now I am going to Amazon to order Fisher scones from Washington State to make for myself. Yummy!

Jackie said...

Hi Susanne,

Scones and Devonshire cream? How nice. Thanks.

Thanks for this encouraging post. I can't tell you how scared I was at my first conference.

PattiJo, Georgia peach muffins? Yum.

I hope you all have a great day!

Mary Hicks said...

Thanks, Susanne, for sharing your fears. It helps to hear that fear is a common reaction most of us suffer from at some time in our life.

One side effect of age is you learn that 'this too will pass' and you more easily relax and enjoy the ride.

I agree with Ruthy, you have a beautiful smile! :-)

Rose said...

Great post, Susanne.

I find snakes scarier than spiders. And I've never understood the fear of clowns, but my daughter in law hates them!

Great information on overcoming writing fears. I guess my worst fear is that no one will read my books once they are written and published!

Susanne Dietze said...

Good morning! I've brought a pot of my favorite tea, Bingley Tea's Sweet Jane (named for the characters in Pride & Prejudice) and a platter of scones.

But Tina, Fisher Scones??!! I am not familiar with them, but they must be amazing. Do tell more.

kaybee said...

I love fancy tea parties too. The little sandwiches, the tiny cupcakes, EARL GREY IN A CHINA CUP. Xstacy.

Susanne Dietze said...

Thank you so much, Patti Jo! Georgia peach muffins...oh my. They sound heavenly. I love peaches. We have a "fruit salad" tree. It's actually Elba peach with Santa Rosa plum and some sort of apricot grafted on. The peaches are fantastic.

That Bible verse is one I've memorized (but I tend to ignore it when I'm scared. Typical of me.). It states so clearly that God doesn't want us to live in fear and wants us to enjoy the blessing of trusting Him and living in His peace!

Hope you slept well.

Jeanne T said...

Susanne, it's so nice to meet you. :) I've dealt with those similar fears regarding my writing journey. I have been working through a fear of putting my "stuff" out there and it being considered not good enough. I'm pressing through it to finish my current book and query it. Big step for me. :)

As for your silly question: Snakes. Definitely snakes. : )

kaybee said...

Interesting post (now that I've got past the tea parties). I am more afraid now than when I started out on my writing journey. I am afraid of not being good enough, and the longer I do this, the more I realize what "good" really is. When I began, I was stubborn and sent out stuff that wasn't ready. I'm embarrassed about it now. I really think of now as my second writing career, I'm much more cautious about what I put out there. What I'm looking for now is a "healthy" fear, knowing that my stuff will never be perfect but that it's the best I can do and that someone needs to hear it.
Kathy Bailey

Connie Queen said...

I have fears of making an idiot of myself when I first meet people. I'll be unnaturally quiet at first. Then once I get to know you, I don't quit talking.

All except for tarantulas, spiders don't scare me.
There was that time in bed, when I still half out of it, and I felt something crawling up my leg. Thank goodness it was on top of covers and not under there with me. It crawled across me. I finally opened my eyes as it went across my arm. Yep. A great big hairy tarantula. I went berserk then.

Susanne Dietze said...

Good morning, Marianne! What an interesting motivational billboard. (Side note: how cool to see inspirational, encouraging billboards rather than ads all the time.)

I think it's got a point but I'm not sure yet if it's totally true or not, either. I'll have to think about it. It's a good motivator, though.

So glad you could come by today!

Susanne Dietze said...

Thank you, Mary! I'm glad you came by today.

I notice you have Belle as your avatar. She is my favorite Disney gal. I love that movie. <3

Susanne Dietze said...

Congratulations on your June release, Keli! I can't wait to read it. I've been so excited to get my hands on it. Yay, Keli!

You asked about my fears. Well...I wish I could say I was past them, but it's a process.

Ratings? Yep, I confess to being nervous about them. I have to remind myself of something I know is true: reviews and ratings count, but I want my writing to please God first and foremost. I have to trust Him in this and thank Him that I'm even getting reviews...this journey took a long time!

Susanne Dietze said...

Cindy, I can't believe you were bit twice by a brown recluse! Those are the scariest spiders of them all. I am so glad you're ok. Oh, you poor thing. I don't blame you for not liking them.

I hear you about fears regarding writing not being "good enough" for an editor, audience, etc. I feel that way, too. There is always something to learn, always a place we can each improve our writing. I'm trying to look at it that way, but I share your fear!

Susanne Dietze said...

Ruthie, you fearless woman! Max Lucado named his book after you! LOL. I love being around you. And you brought coffee to the party! Wahoo!

Susanne Dietze said...

Tina, thank you so much for having me today! I am honored to be here.

Next up for me is a novella, For a Song, which will be in Barbour's The Cowboy's Bride Collection, coming in the early months of 2016. I just turned in the manuscript. Squee! I love Barbour novellas and I'm so honored to be included in two of them.

I'm putting together two additional proposals now. (And, to be honest, now that I've submitted my Cowboy novella, I have to clean my closet. It was a deal I made with myself. Ugh, it is so bad in there!)

Susanne Dietze said...

Jackie, I am with you about attending conference! Especially the first time, it can be scary! So many people. So many options. It's enough to slay an introvert like me.

I enjoyed hanging with the Seekers each evening. What a fabulous service they provide to the rest of us! Fellowship, friendly faces, welcoming smiles...I love you gals!

Susanne Dietze said...

Rose, I don't care for snakes either. I don't even like touching them (sorry to those of you with pet snakes).

I'm afraid no one will read my books, either. It's a valid fear for the writer that can impact future opportunities. Ultimately we have to trust God, which is so hard for me to truly do. I pay it lip service, but my heart and flesh are weak.

It's so good that we can share our fears with one another! We aren't alone. Thanks for letting me share with you, and I'm glad you shared with me.

Susanne Dietze said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susanne Dietze said...

Jeanne, snakes are scary. They just are. High five, sister.

It sounds like several of us fear our writing isn't good enough. I suppose there's a good side to that: we can do something about it. We can keep reading published works to see how other authors accomplish it. We can take classes. We can keep practicing.

But it's a common fear and it has merit. Standing with you, sister!

Susanne Dietze said...

Kathy, I LOVE china cups and tea parties! Wahoo! I have a QEII Jubilee teacup a friend brought me from England. I need to drink out of it today to toast Royal Baby Charlotte. Huzzah!

Good point about healthy fear. We should remain humble and focused on God and His work!

Susanne Dietze said...

Connie, I cannot believe a tarantula crawled in bed with you. What did you do? Yikes!

Social anxiety is so hard. I have it to a degree. I suppose many of us do. Doesn't always make it easier to walk into a room of strangers, though.

Thanks for coming by and sharing!

Cindy Regnier said...

Great post! I love the list of writer's fears. I have suffered them all at some point. Dead Dream Syndrome is my current ailment.
Susanne, I am so glad you gave God your fear, went to ACFW, met all those people, won Genesis and became a Barbour author. Everyone of those things is encouraging to me. And I am also glad you're sharing with us in Seekerville today! Welcome and thank you!

Jan Drexler said...

Great post, Suzanne!

Sometimes I feel like fears are part of my life - and then I remember that fear is just a sign that I'm striking out into new territory. Embrace it, get over it, and conquer it - fully relying of God with every step. He goes before me, always.

Thanks for the reminder :)

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Susanne. Loved your post! I think most of us have experienced writing related fear. Eight sold books later fear still tries to creep in, but I remind myself that courage isn't the absence of fear. Courage is continuing in the face of fear. And with God's help I can overcome.

Snakes for sure.

Your story sounds wonderful!


Vince said...

Hi Susanne:

I love your portrait. I was a studio photographer for a number of years and your photo is absolutely ideal for reducing down to the size used in online blogs. Just perfect! Some very nice portraits at full size do not reduce down well at all. Can you tell us about that photo? I always like to get the inside story on portraits that I admire.

Now about fear:

Fear is a double edge sword. A policeman may face the fear of having to arrest a dangerous felon in a dark alley while at the same time experiencing the fear of not doing his duty and thus incurring the curse of being thought of as a coward by his fellow officers.

Fear is God's way of being a mother. Without fear we'd probably all be dead before we reached 10 years old. It has been said that the origin of scary folk tales was the need for parents to keep children from straying into the nearby forest.

FDR: “Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”

I used to fear public speaking. Now I fear that my speeches will be cancelled.

Fear's greatest enemy is temptation. Visualize victory and make your fears take a back seat.

"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil."
Matthew 5:39

I believe that the more you dwell on your fears, the more power you give them over you.

Feed your desires and they will eat your fears.

Think in affirmations.

I fear I've said enough. (But this is a topic dear to my heart.)

Thanks for your post. I really enjoyed it.


P.S. Please put me in the drawing for your book. One question: Can one bachelor really be more eligible than another? Aren't you either eligible or not eligible? I wonder what the GQ would say about that?

Gabrielle Meyer said...

Great post, Susie!! I can relate to everything you said (as I think many authors can). Thank you for giving us some helpful reminders and tips to overcome fear. I'm so excited to see where your writing will take you!! (And don't include me in the drawing. I have a few copies of my own.) :)

Eileen said...

Susanne--wow, did I need this little bump today. Thank you for reminding me about TRUST and the power of the Lord to overwhelm fear. I have had months where fear battled with my with faith, but a great book called One Thousand Gifts gave me awesome tools to reset, especially one line from that book that I use daily: "Thanksgiving comes before the miracle." Even stating all the awesome gifts given each day helps us to see how very much the Lord takes care of us. "Look at the sparrows of the air..." The Lord wants me to relax and rest my worries onto Him. And so, thanks to your post, I am going to get my airline tickets for the RWA conference today!

Eileen said...

Oh and I would love copy of your book.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Eileen I am ordering that book. Amen to that quote!

Meghan Carver said...

Good morning, Susanne! I'm right there with you on the fears. I've semi-finaled twice in the Genesis, and I completely understand the fear of winning and the fear of losing. :-) Thank you for the encouragement today!

Candee Fick said...

Hi Susanne! Thanks for sharing your lovingly honest story. I used to think it was a fear of failure (and looking like an idiot in the process), but I'm realizing lately that there's an element of fearing success as well. Because then I'd be a bigger target. I'm learning over and over again that I write for an Audience of One and He already approves of me! Even before I won the Genesis and got my first contract. ;-)

As for the silly question, put me with the other spider-phobes. Creeping critters with tickling legs that get into small areas and surprise you. (I don't like snakes either but at least they're big enough to spot and avoid.)

Caryl Kane said...

Hey Susanne! It's wonderful to see you here at Seekerville. CONGRATULATIONS on the release of "Love's Reward" in The Most Eligible Bachelor Collection.

I enjoyed your article on fear. Sometimes we forgot that the Lord has not given us a spirit of fear. Thank you for the words of encouragement.

In response to the silly questions I believe snakes and clowns are equal in fright!

Have a Terrific Tuesday!

Wilani Wahl said...

Loved this post. I struggle with these fears of writing but then look to the Lord for encouragement to keep on writing.

I would love to win a copy of your book.

Not getting much accomplished this week. The Vertigo is extreme with blurred vision making it difficult to even read let alone write. But I refuse to give up and keep pushing myself. I fell backwards this morning. I am so thankful my soft bed was there to catch me. The Lord is so good all the time but especially on days like this.

Jana Vanderslice said...

I totally get the fear thing. REAL LIVE PEOPLE, MY FRIENDS, were actually going to READ the Fierce Faith 40 day prayer guide I wrote! But I knew God wanted us to pray & me to write, so I did. I’ve learned the hard way it is easier to obey God the 1st time than to have to go back and fix it when I mess up (It’s just so much more work & such a hassle!!). :)

Jana Vanderslice said...

And…I’m declaring SpeedBo VICTORY! Fierce Faith 2.0 is FINISHED! We had our last group meeting Sun night. I’m going to go back & make sure all the corrections have been corrected, but that is it!! I met all my Speedbo goals during Speedbo & have kept going! This summer my project is to dive into the publishing process. THANK YOU SEEKERVILLE!!!!!

This is a Huge, Huge “ONLY GOD COULD DO THIS” Win!!!

The Cross is empty.
The tomb is abandoned.
Christ is living.
God has Won!

Susanne Dietze said...

Cindy, Dead Dream Disorder is a tough one. I've been there, too.

I am always encouraged by authors' stories. In my circles of writing friends, I don't know anyone who sold her first book. I know of one woman whose second book was immediately snatched up and she is a very, very successful author. Others have had to write for years before publication. I wrote toward publication for six years before this contract--a lot longer than some, a lot less than others I know.

I'll pray for your encouragement today!

Susanne Dietze said...

Jan, you are so right! God goes before us! And behind us, too. It's humbling and amazing to think the Lord of the universe is so intimate with us. Thank you for reminding me of that today!

Susanne Dietze said...

Janet, I love what you said: "courage is continuing on in the face of fear." Amen, sister. To be brave means we are shaking in our boots, but we press on anyhow. Love your quote!

Susanne Dietze said...

Gabrielle, my fellow Bachelor author! Waving hi! Thanks for coming by to say hi today.

And let me tell everyone what a sweet lady you are!

Susanne Dietze said...

Vince, thanks so much for your compliments on my photo! The photographer is very talented. We met up in a park on an autumn morning and had some fun.

Great insights on fear, too. I love your point about visualizing victory.

As for the eligibility of the bachelors in the collection, well, these heroes all experience an event or circumstance that makes them The Most Sought-After Fellas in town. It's not that they weren't eligible before, but when the stories start, they're suddenly in demand, if that makes sense.

My hero is the victim of career sabotage: his rival places an ad in the paper promising a hefty financial reward to the woman who captures my hero's heart. The rival hopes the distraction will level the playing field between them in a career-related competition. Naturally, this scheme works, as money-seeking females barrage my hero with attention.

Susanne Dietze said...

Eileen, what a fabulous quote: "Thanksgiving comes before the miracle." Thank you for sharing it! That book is awesome.

Way to go on buying your airline tickets! I'm so excited for you! I won't be at RWA this year (next year, yes!) but I will be at ACFW this year. And guess what...I just bought my plane tickets, too. I freaked out a little. But I'm trying to remember God's bigger than this!

Susanne Dietze said...

Congratulations on your Genesis success, Meaghan! It takes so much courage to put your writing out there.

I'm glad you came by today!

Susanne Dietze said...

Candee, you are so right about our Audience of One. Such an important, vital thing to consider with everything we do.

Spiders definitely seem to be winning the Scary contest around here today.

Susanne Dietze said...

Thanks, Caryl! I appreciate that so much!

Clowns can be creepy. I've seen clown dolls with seriously evil grins. Shudder.

Susanne Dietze said...

Wilani, I'm sorry about your vertigo. I will pray for you today. I'm so glad God provided a soft place for you to land!

Thanks for visiting Seekerville today. Blessings!

Susanne Dietze said...

Wahoo on SpeedBo, Jana! And for obeying God despite your fears! High five. And thanks for sharing. What an encouragement to me!

Janet Dean said...

Susanne, I agree with Vince. Your photo is beautiful! Your big bright smile is part of it's charm, but also that you're leaning in as if eager to share your time. Perfect!


Susanne Dietze said...

Aw, thanks, Janet!

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, SUSANNE ... I have a feeling we could become good, GOOD friends!!

Thank you for being SO honest about your fears, a bottom-line honesty that is SO encouraging and candid! And SO very needed!!

One of the points you made was: "Do not be ashamed of your fear."

All too often people in this business ARE afraid to admit their fears to others and their failures, too. But it's the fears and failures that most of us relate to, or at least I do. :)

EXCELLENT POST, my friend, and SUPER CONGRATS on the Barbour contracts -- you go, girl!!


Suzie Johnson said...

Wow, Susie, what great info. I experience all of these as well. Your ideas are very helpful. I'll be working on this. Thank you so much!.

Snakes are the scariest of all - unless the spider runs toward you, or jumps at you. And unless the clown is walking toward you, or you (or children) are alone with him.

DebH said...

Hi Susanne!
I always love it when an Inky comes visiting Seekerville. My two favorite blogs coming together. Whoot!

This is a great post for both "real" life and the writing life. Key wisdom for everyday living. Yay!

I think my biggest writing fear is I'll expose too much of myself in my writing and people will wonder what's wrong with me. I'm pretty sure some fear of readers not liking a book stems from how much we may insert ourselves into our characters.

Clowns weird me out. The make-up faces are hiding something sinister I think. Why can't a person do cool stuff for kids without the oddball costume and make-up?

Spiders only scare me when they're crawling across my skin. Don't really care for them, but if I can peg 'em before they touch me, I'm good. Snakes are bigger (usually) and easier to spot and avoid and then some of them are actually good to have around - they help get rid of pesky vermin like mice.

Oh, and I'd love a chance at either your book or the collection - they look marvelous. Plus, adding my vote to most awesome picture of you too. Gorgeous!

Dina Sleiman said...

Hmmm, I think you put words to that paralyzing feeling I've been struggling with, anti-climax-complex. But I'm working through it and not giving into it. Great article, Susie!!!

Susanne Dietze said...

Julie!! Thank you so much!

You are so right. Fear isn't anything to be ashamed of. It's what we do with it that can make or break us. If we use it as a tool to go to God for help, then we can grow through fear and He will be glorified. He has so much more for us than living in fear!

I'm a Big Chicken about a lot of things, but it helps so much to share with others. I love when we hold one another up in prayer and encouragement! We weren't meant to walk this road alone!

Missy Tippens said...

Welcome, Susanne! I'm so glad you joined us and shared that wonderful story of overcoming. I remember you in a wonderful genre costume! :)

Congrats on your sales!!

As for your question, there's no doubt: CLOWNS are the scariest! LOL

Susanne Dietze said...

Suzie, spiders or anything jumping out at me is horrible. Lately, it's been my children jumping out at me. They think it's hilarious. Especially the boy. Apparently I have a funny scream.

I'm so glad you could come by!

Myra Johnson said...

Susanne, it's great to have you as our guest today--and on such an important topic! Thanks so much for the encouraging words!

Susanne Dietze said...

DebH, I can totally relate to what you're saying about fearing what people think of you when they read your stuff. That freaked me out, too. "Ack. People from church/my mom/random people will judge me by this story!" Are my thoughts too warped for them? etc etc.

Authors and other artists have to be vulnerable. This is not the job for sissies. But God gave us jobs and purposes in our stories, and there is someone out there who may benefit from something each of us has to say! You go, girl!

Susanne Dietze said...

Dina, Anti-Climax Complex is a fear I'm just now experiencing. Waiting for reviews. Waiting for sales figures. Ugh. It's enough to drive a person nuts.

I loved Dauntless and I'm so excited for you. I know your book has touched and entertained readers. I'm cheering you on!

Susanne Dietze said...

Missy, you are so sweet to remember my genre costume! (I was in full Regency attire and felt like a Disney Princess!) I think I could do cosplay more often. It was fun.

Clowns! lol. They definitely have a creep-factor!

Susanne Dietze said...

Thank you, Myra! I appreciate this opportunity so much. Blessings!

Anita Mae Draper said...

Susie, I'm so very glad you joined us at ACFW and that you blessed me by being my roomie.

Your gown was wonderful thanks to your vision and Debra's skillful hands.

Great post, Susie, and thanks for the scripture. Good reminders.

Melanie Pike said...

Okay, I finally came in to read this after saying on Facebook that I would. I haven't been here in ages. Fear of feeling convicted that I haven't been doing something that was put in my heart over 40 years ago? (Only half-joking there.)

Fear for me covers a multitude of things: writing, speaking up in a group, meeting new people, any kind of confrontation, etc., etc. I guess I grew up with the feeling that "first impressions always count BIG-time".

To answer your serious and silly questions...
Serious Q: What writing fear plagues you most?
Probably that I'm just not good enough to really put myself out there and be published. I dislike any kind of criticism but have always been told I write well. But if that was in comparison to my high school classmates, well, then, did any of them ever aspire to be published? Not to my knowledge. And I absolutely loved to write at the time (still do, when I take the time to do so).
Silly Q: What is scarier: spiders, snakes, or clowns? Spiders, but only if they're beyond the Daddy-longlegs type. If they even appear to look dangerous, they're out the door/window or DEAD. ;-)

Going to copy and paste this post into Word to print out. Thank you, Susie, and bless you!

Gina Welborn said...

Congratulations, Susie, on your new release! The story is delightful, heartwarming, and so romantic.

Ahh, fears. Thank you for sharing your fears and giving us great advice on how to overcome ours.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

A short commercial announcement to congratulate Patti Jo on being a Genesis finalist! We all know how amazing and exciting THAT CALL IS!!!

Happy dancing!!! We now return you to your regularly scheduled (and wonderful!) visit with Susie!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Patti Jo!!!!! ahhhhhhhh! So thrilled for you!! Congratulations!!!!! Woooot!!!!!

Debby Giusti said...

Susie, so wonderful to read your blog today about one of my least favorite subjects--FEAR! It haunts us all, doesn't it! But, as you mentioned so well, God is bigger and better than any silly fear.

The middle of the night is my time of reckoning. I'll awake and tick off all the things I need to do, the pages that need to be written, the emails I need to answer, the Art Fact sheet I need to submit, and FEAR, that nasty beast, will hover over my heart!

Until, I remember that God is walking with me on this writing journey. Thankfully. And tasks get done in His perfect timing.

BTW, FEAR and the internal NEGATIVE VOICE are siblings. Both need to be ignored and/or conquered! Amen!

Congrats on your success! So thrilled for you!!! Oh Happy Day!

Becky Dempsey said...

Apparently God really wants me to work on my fear/worry/anxiety as I've gotten an email, this post, and a book for review all dealing with this issue this week! Thank you for your insights!

My biggest writer fear is that I'll finally publish a book and no one will like it.

I'd love to be in for the drawing for Most Eligible Bachelor.

Natalie Monk said...

Great tips here in this post. Fear can be so crippling. Everything about writing scares me, LOL! But it's fun, too, so fun trumps scary with me sometimes, like with roller-coasters.

Congrats on your new release and winning the 2013 Genesis! Awesome!

Would love to be entered for the collection!

Susanne Dietze said...

Anita Mae, my ACFW roomie, you were so patient with me! Thanks for coming by and celebrating with me, friend.

Cara Lynn James said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Susanne! I don't think we often talk about our fears but we all have them.

Heidi Robbins said...

While reading your article I thought about the things I wish I was doing but some kind of fear is preventing me. Thank you so much for this timely post!

Please enter me in the giveaway for your book! I love novella collections!

Susanne Dietze said...

Wahoo! Congratulations to Patti Jo and the other Genesis semi-finalists! So happy for you all!

Susanne Dietze said...

Melanie, you're right: it's so easy to compare ourselves to others. What's harder to most of us is to try to please the Audience of One and trust His timing. I haven't gotten there yet!

Susanne Dietze said...

Hi Gina, fellow Bachelor author! I love your story in the collection!

Susanne Dietze said...

Debby, you are one of those welcoming, sweet faces that blessed me at ACFW (and RWA, too!). Thank you!

Ah yes, the Negative Voice, fear's twin. It's hard to recondition that inner voice.

Susanne Dietze said...

Becky, I can relate to your fear. It seems pretty natural to many of us. We just have to help one another face it! I wish you the best in your writing journey!

Susanne Dietze said...

Natalie, writing is scary indeed! But it is also so much fun. We're so blessed to be able to do this, aren't we?

Susanne Dietze said...

Caralynn, it's nice that we're all in this boat together. It just goes to show that you never know what's going on inside a person, and everyone has their fears.

Susanne Dietze said...

Heidi, if we let it, fear can prevent us from living. We just have to keep praying about these things, don't we?

Dana R. Lynn said...

Oh my goodness! Thank you Suzanne for such a great post. I think I have, and sometimes still do, felt each and every one of those fears you mentioned. I try to remind myself that He has not given me a spirit of fear, but sometimes we just need to have someone remind us.

Rhonda Starnes said...

This post is a keeper, Susanne.

I'm going to my first workshop (the writer's police academy) in August, and the nerves are already hitting me. The thought of booking a plane ticket is making me nauseous. I've only ever flown twice before and never alone! Then I keep reminding myself, I'm 50 years old and not getting any younger. Gotta get over myself, and just do it!!

Also, spiders are scarier!!!

Sandy Smith said...

Thanks, Susanne. I believe I have every fear you mentioned. I'm not sure what I'm most afraid of, but I do know that I will do anything except write when I have that fear of the blank page. I will try to take your advice to heart.

Please enter me in the drawing.

Susanne Dietze said...

Dana, great point. Fellowship is something God wants for His people. When we share one another's lives, we can relate to one another and help each other in our struggles!

So glad you could come by today.

Susanne Dietze said...

Rhonda, you are not alone in being nervous about buying that plane ticket! I am not a frequent flyer. It's a big deal to me, too.

I'm proud of you for stepping out!

Susanne Dietze said...

Sandy, I come up with all sorts of excuses when it's time for me to start something new, too. I know exactly what you're talking about. Yet if I just sat down and pounded something out for half an hour, I'd have a start! Ugh! It's self-defeating. But normal for some of us, I guess.

DeAnna Julie Dodson said...

Great post, Susie! We all deal with fear.

I'm at the "what if I can't fulfill this contract and never get another one again?" stage.

And clowns.

CatMom said...

p.s. Just stopping back in to say thanks for the congrats wishes on being a semi-finalist in the Genesis - - I almost missed the call because I had chicken-a-la-king all over my hands, and had to grab a dish cloth!!
For anyone who needs an evening snack, please enjoy the peach cobbler I've just taken out of the oven (extra cinnamon!). ;)
Hugs, Patti Jo

Tina Radcliffe said...

"Also, spiders are scarier!!!"

Your airport mantra, Rhonda.

Spiders are scarier.
Spiders are scarier.

I recommend a good scary book.

When I first started going to RWA conferences I hated flying.

When I had flown previously it had been with kids. And I have an aisle-ful. So I was too busy keeping them quiet to be concerned with the plane.

So when I began to fly alone I picked up a Mary Higgins Clark book and was so engrossed I hardly noticed take off or landing.

Rhonda Starnes said...

Tina..love it!

Spiders ARE scarier! will definitely be my airport mantra.

Also, I can just keep reminding myself, I get to meet Tina and Debby! That should be encouragement enough.

Susanne Dietze said...

Thanks, DeAnna!

It just goes to show that no matter one's level of publication, one still struggles with levels of uneasiness. Hugs, friend! I'm cheering you on!

Susanne Dietze said...

Spiders are scarier...I will remember this when I fly to Dallas!

I think I should pick up a good suspense novel for that trip!

Susanne Dietze said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today! What a fabulous time, and I'm glad we could celebrate Patti Jo's Genesis semi-final and all the other semi-finalists, too!


Chill N said...

Thanks for the honesty in your post, Susanne. I'm actually looking forward to experiencing the Anti-Climax-Complex because that will mean my book has been published :-)

I'm intrigued by the blurb for "Love's Reward" and looking forward to reading the story.

Nancy C

Chill N said...

PATTI JO -- terrific news about being a semi-finalist in the Genesis! Wonderful news!

Nancy C

Mary Curry said...

Mice are scariest of all - when they keep multiplying and you can't make them go away no matter what.


Sorry - Hi Susie!

How cool is it that you're here talking about this today on the day the Genesis Semi-finalists were announced.

I remember you winning. It was such fun to sit and watch via the stream and cheer you on.

Congrats on overcoming all the fears and moving on in faith to success!

Wishing you continued blessings.

CONGRATS also to all the Seekerville friends who are finalists today. I'm SO proud of you all!

Tanya Agler said...

Suzanne, Thank you for your post.

For the silly question, it's between snakes and spiders, both of which love my yard. As long as they stay out of my house, I'm somewhat okay. Clowns don't rattle me.

For the serious question, there's been a lot of discussion about fear lately. My RWA chapter had a discussion about how fear can lead to the rise of procrastination and ways to overcome some of those fears. Now this today. So for me, rather than spending time on my writing fears, I try to stay optimistic and focus on getting more writing done. Easier written than done some days, but the more I stay focused and on track, the less time I have to think about fear and that helps me more in the long run.

Congratulations on your awards and your writing. Good post. Thanks.

Debra E. Marvin said...

the truth is, Susie charmed everyone she met at ACFW 2013 because she is so sweet, warm and gracious... and adorable!!!

This was a great post, Susie, and I'm taking it to heart.

Sandy Kirby Quandt said...

Susanne thanks so much for this valuable post. I am in the process now of overcoming the fears that seem to keep popping up in my writing. I'd have to say I've experienced all the ones you mentioned. Thanks for the suggestions on how to push past the fear and be the writer God wants us to be.

Deanna Stevens said...

Enjoyed reading your post today. I felt some of those same things at my first Quilting conference.. My teachers were all wonderful & I learned a lot :)
toss me into the drawings please.. Dee from Nebr

ohiohomeschool said...

I loved your post. So good to think through fear.
I am going for the silly. I am going to say clowns. They just act so odd and come at you with made up faces. Especially when you are little!
Good luck with your writing.

Courtney Ballinger said...

This is quite a timely post with the Genesis semi-finalists having been announced yesterday.:)

Oh, fear. I know that emotion well. And as someone attending the ACFW conference for the first time this year, Im feeling all of these things that you've shared. Ha!

Thanks for writing such an encouraging post!

Dawn Crandall said...

I felt so fearful going to my very first writing conference in 2011--ACFW in St. Louis! I felt totally out of my league, but God used other authors to encourage me, and I signed with my agent soon after that! I know what you mean, Courtney! It's an honor, but looking at the list yesterday brought back all of the anxious emotions I felt being on those Genesis lists over the last few years! In the publishing world, this list might only be the beginning of seeing your name highlighted as --yes, this girl can write! The fear and worry are something that actually never quite goes away no matter what step in the publishing journey you're on.

Deanne said...

Waving hello to you Susanne Dietze . Wonderful to "meet" up with you again. I loved your post, as always. One thing that impresses me about you besides your writing is your confidence you have as a writer. You go girl ! I would love to have a chance to read your latest book. It sounds great and funny. We can all use a laugh !


Olivia said...

Your bloc was right on...fears of both success and failure kept me from writing. and immersing myself in writer like activities! Please put my name in this week's drawing.

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Hi Susanne,

Great post! I'm a worrier at heart, so your tips will be extremely helpful next time I get scared.

And in answer to your question...