No Fear

self_esteemThis year has been crazy awesome, and it’s changed me accordingly. It’s quite possible that I, myself, am crazier than I started out at the beginning of the year. Or maybe I started out this way. You have to be at least a little nuts in the first place to choose writing as a career.

Over the course of the last year I’ve written countless blog posts, more than a dozen short stories (thanks in large part to this blog), and another novel. I’ve also gone through edits with a fabulous professional editor on two other novels. Over the course of all that, I know I’ve improved as a writer. I think it would be impossible not to get better with all that going on.

Through all the writing I’ve done, I think my “voice” has become stronger. And my editor has taught me so much about mechanics and story that I couldn’t have learned any other way. At least not easily. So, yes, absolutely, I’ve changed as a writer this year, and I’m certain it’s for the better.

But that’s not the biggest change.

Two years ago, I was a non-finisher, too terrified of sucking to complete a short story, let alone a novel.

One year ago, I was dumbfounded by having found a publisher for the novel I’d finally written, and terrified that I wouldn’t be able to repeat the accomplishment.

Today, I have one published novel, a second coming out in March, a third I turned in last week which will come out late summer/early fall, and a contract for three more books.

I will never be so confident in myself that this doesn’t scare me. But my confidence level this year has taken a definite upturn. I don’t mean the cocky sort of confidence that demands attention or the best table in a restaurant. I mean the confidence that looks at the next project and says “I can do that.” The confidence that looks at a finished manuscript and says “This doesn’t suck.”

I’ll still run into pitfalls. I will still make mistakes. I’ll still have days filled with wailing, gnashing of teeth and, yes, even self-doubt. But it’ll be fleeting.

The most important thing that’s changed this year is my self-confidence. I know what I’m capable of doing. I may get scared from time to time, but I don’t think I’ll ever be paralyzed with fear again. Failure is nothing to be afraid of. Not trying—that’s the true failure.

I’m confident I’ll never fall prey to that particular demon again.

Rachel is the author of the urban fantasy Monster Haven series from Carina Press. She believes in magic, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks, and putting things off until stress gets them done faster at the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas.

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