Afraid to hit publish?
It’s #ThrowbackThursday, and we’re in the wayback machine to February, 2019, when this Afraid to Hit Publish? post first appeared. Please enjoy the rerun:
You’ve sweated over the perfect word, stolen time from family, work and play, and finally —finally—your book is done. Why then, are you afraid to hit publish?
Fear of putting your novel into the world where anyone can read it can be traced to two reasons—fear of failure and fear of success. Let’s unpack them further.
Fear of Failure
You’re not good enough. Your writing isn’t good enough. So-and-so writer is better. Your book isn’t ready. People will hate it.
If you’ve ever had any one of these thoughts—Congratulations, you’re a writer! We’ve all suffered from imposter syndrome, knowing that anything we write is crap, and why are we even trying?
Good news! We’ve all been there. Every book you read was written by an author who doubted himself. Every. One.
Better news! Your worst fears won’t come true. I mean, really? The whole world will hate your book?
Are you willing to abandon your dream and all your goals because of the opinion of someone else? Since when is any other opinion but your own the standard by which you live?
Stop comparing yourself to other writers. They’re not you. You’re not them. We are all on different stages of the same journey. Don’t let the imagination that created an amazing world be the assassin of your dreams.
You’re good enough, and so is your book. Don’t be afraid to hit publish and send your baby into its next voyage.
Fear of Success
If you’re afraid to hit publish, you may be afraid of success. It’s not as odd as it sounds. Fear of success is a valid social anxiety. We like our routines, our habits, and feeling comfortable. What if success changes all that? We’ve seen overnight success in celebrities ruin their careers. We’ve read about lottery winners who are broke five years later. Do we want success if it changes who we are? Will our friends and families look at us and treat us differently if we succeed in our writing career?
Maybe we found happiness in the past and it failed. Think of the euphoria of your first love affair, then the heartbreak and disappointment when it broke apart. Or the promotion at work followed by a pink slip.
Good news! Life is full of ups and downs. Why deny yourself a pinnacle of success just so you can remain in a comfortable rut? Don’t you deserve a reward for the sacrifices you’ve made to finish your book?
How to not be afraid to hit publish
- What will happen if you don’t publish?
- Realistically, what are the chances of it happening?
- If it does happen, do you have a plan to cope with the consequences?
- Will publishing your book take you to the next level?
By laying out the worst-case scenario and anticipating your reaction, you can ease or eliminate your anxiety and not be afraid to hit the publish button.
Fears are normal. Ups and downs are normal. If you write fiction, you’re aware of the hero’s journey and his character arc. Why not embrace the writer’s arc?
Ease your fears with these steps:
- Find your tribe. Facebook is filled with support groups for writers (20Booksto50K comes to mind). As they say there, a rising tide floats all boats. Ask as question from someone with more experience and give a helping hand when you can. You’re not in this writing journey alone.
- Be accountable to someone. Post your goal and achievements to someone who will hold you accountable. I know when I don’t feel like writing, I sit down and type anyway because, at the end of the week, I have to post that I wrote at least 3,000 words.
- Grow a thick skin. Your first book might not get noticed, or if it does, the reviews aren’t stellar, or are nonexistent. (Hint: Don’t read or expect reviews. Take your ego out of the equation and realize reviews are subjective). Your editor gives criticism that you don’t agree with. Your critique group rips apart your character’s motive. Don’t let it stop you from publishing. It’s your book.
- Get as much feedback as you can from beta readers in your genre and an editor, but sooner or later, you have to have to let go of the book.
- Nothing will ever, ever be perfect.
Change your mind about failure and success. Don’t be afraid to hit publish. Then start writing the next book.
Much success in publishing your book!