Some time ago, a delightful man contracted with me to write a book that was to be the story of his successful business life. We’d finished our first interview session, I’d submitted the first rough draft which he said he liked. I showed up for our second appointment and with a big sigh and tears in his eyes, he couldn’t continue. He went on to explain he’d even had a session with his psychiatrist about writing his book, and he just wasn’t willing to reveal himself.
In another instance a young man had developed a fairly unique way of looking at life, and hired me to help him put it in a book. We got several chapters in and he quit returning my email and my phone calls.
A woman and I had a great deal of difficulty getting her book truly underway. After several broken appointments and false starts, she admitted the whole idea of writing a book scared her half to death.
Although each of these examples are different, at least on the surface, I think the woman who identified that she was afraid was speaking for many as well as herself.
What’s The Fear?
When you think about getting your book written, there are several things that you might find scary, including:
- The sheer size of the project; 40,000 words, give or take, 200 pages give or take, is a big project. It takes sustained effort over a period of time to get it done. You can, however, if it’s important to you, get a book written. If it’s important, you’ll find the time, the way to make it happen.
- Fear of revealing yourself. If you write a book and it sells well, you are exposing your ideas, and, in many ways, your very being to hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of strangers. Getting a book out there is a public act. You will be on record, in print, with whatever ideas you’ve put in your book. People will know you at some level, and some will judge you. Does that really matter?
- Fear of success. If your book is even moderately successful, it’s likely to change your life. You will have more authority and more respect. Some people will expect more of you because you’re a published author. If you’re highly successful, you may even get rich from your book. Are you willing to expand?
- Fear of failure. If you sell only a dozen or so copies, may fear you’ll feel like a failure. You won’t be, of course, but you’re likely to feel that way for a bit. Are you willing to risk feeling like you failed?
- Fear that your ideas will change even before the book is printed. They probably will change, or at least develop, which only means you’re getting ready to write a second or third book. Isn’t that nice?
These are, in my experience, the most typical fears that keep people from getting a book written. There’s nothing wrong with fear, it’s letting it stop you that’s the problem.
What are your fears? How will you let them go?
Write well and often!