What frightens you, and how does it influence your writing?
But my fear of being powerless or betrayed or losing a child don’t influence my writing as much as my fear of failure.
Have you seen the movie “Apollo 13” with Tom Hanks? If not, shame on you :) In this movie about a doomed moon mission, the flight director Gene Kranz says something the real man is famous for (though he did not actually say it during this mission). He says, “Failure is not an option.”
When I first sat down to actually, finally write a novel about seven years ago, I wasn’t worried about the plot or the characters or the word count. I was terrified I would fail. That I would try and not be good enough. That I was crazy to think I could be an author.
I knew with writing the chance of failure was mind-numbingly high. This is a rough business.
Even now with four books under contract, I fear things won’t go well. Most writers I know fight this fear daily. We want our books to succeed, our hard work to pay off. So each day I tell myself that failure is not an option.
But that comes with caveats. What does is mean not to fail? For a writer, it means, simply, writing better each day. We can’t always control how many books we sell or the strength of a marketing campaign or how many people show up for our signings. Sometimes we don’t even get a say on our covers. But what we can control are the words on the page.
A writer friend of mine, Jeffrey Savage, talked about this once. He emphasized how important it is to focus on the writing, to get better with every book, and to keep writing as many books as you can.
So I combat my fear of failure by writing. Writing a little better every day. Pushing hard to improve my art. In that way, I’m glad for this fear. When we ‘make good art,’ as Neil Gaiman said, than we succeed.
Thank you for having me on your blog today, Fiona!
About Black Moon
Simon Howard accidentally killed three people. Months later, the nightmares won’t stop. Willa Fairfield, his girlfriend, his soul mate, wants nothing more than to help him move on. But guilt isn’t the only thing in Simon’s way.
When unexplained earthquakes hit the small town of Twelve Acres and dozens of people go missing, the Light witches discover their most feared enemy, Archard, is still alive.
As the Light Covenant fumbles to defend against Archard’s sadistic intentions, Simon’s magic grows inexplicably more powerful—even dangerous. Willa throws all her efforts into solving the mystery of Simon’s transformation, but when the events of the past storm into the present, the couple’s future changes forever.
About Teri Harman
You can find her on her blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.