Fear of publication – Jamie Raintree

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By Jamie Raintree

People are often surprised to hear there was once a time when I didn’t want to be published. It seems that for most writers, getting their work published one day is the plan from the moment they put pen to the page, but I was scared. Only, as a young writer, I didn’t recognize it as fear. I thought it was simply who I was. I was a writer, I told myself, who wrote for myself. Just the thrill of watching my stories unfold, and the sense of accomplishment I got from my growing word count was enough for a long time. ♥

After six years of writing, though, I found myself tangled up in the circle of relentless revising. What was I even revising for, one might wonder, if I didn’t plan to publish it? But I was too caught up in my own fear to ask myself this question. It wasn’t until my dad — knowing me as he does — sat me down one day and said, “So what exactly are you going to do with that novel?”

It’s taken me many years since then to parse out just what held me back. It’s not an easy task, to get to the level of introspection it takes to overcome one’s fears. But, as it turns out, that is the main task of being a writer. Maybe even more than the writing itself.

We bring our fears to the page every single day, and the days that we manage to write are the days we overcome them.

For me, the publishing fears were the same. And I had to overcome them in the same way: one day at a time.

They say the first step is acknowledgement and after some soul searching, I was able to name my fear: fear of being in the spotlight. I’ve discovered this is a common fear amongst writers. We are the wallflowers, the observers, the quiet analyzers. We have the kind of insights that could change the world, but you’ll have to drag them out of us, kicking and screaming.

Of course, when we share those insights, we are open to scrutiny and that’s where the real fear comes from. The hard part about sharing our work is that we become vulnerable to people who may not be ready for it. And, let’s face it, because many people are uncomfortable with insights that shake them out of their comfort zones, it’s a well-founded fear. Our work invites people to take action to overcome their own fears, to do better, to be better.

That’s a lot to ask.

And yet, this is what we do in our own lives every day.

The problem is, when we don’t overcome our own fears — of writing, or publication, or success, or failure — we don’t only rob ourselves. Not only do we not fulfill our soul’s calling, we also rob the person who needs to hear the message you have to share at just that moment. And that’s the real tragedy of keeping our words to ourselves, either by not publishing them, or not writing them at all.

I used to think that being a published author just wasn’t for me. If you’re struggling to put your work out there, or even to sit down at the page each day, maybe this is your fear too. I encourage you to dig deeper. Use that fear to fuel you, not stop you. Let it be your message to the world.

Jamie Raintree is voracious student of life, which is why she became a writer, where she could put all that acquired information to good use. She is a mother of two, a wife, a businesswoman, a nature-lover, and a wannabe yogi. She also teaches writers about business and productivity. Since the setting is always an important part of her books, she is happy to call the Rocky Mountains of Northern Colorado her home and inspiration.


1 Comment

  1. Suzette Bohne' Sommers

    December 14, 2017 at 7:01 am

    For me publishing is not something I dwell on because it paralyzes me and prevents me from freedom in writing. I don’t want to think about it because I will STOP writing. So, my brain likes to behave as though I am just being my creative self, and it flows easier. Do I want to publish? OH YES! But not nearly there yet. I’m practicing by publishing my short stories on my WordPress site. It feels terrifying, but I get over it quickly….then I go back and edit, edit, edit. It works for me, being the perfectionist that I am…and for me nothing is ever perfect. ugh!

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