Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Scary stuff
by Brenda Janowitz

This cycle, we're talking about what scares us as writers.  I think it's a funny thing to be talking about, since SO MUCH about being a writer scares me.

Right now, I'm waiting to get edits on my third novel.  I know that my new editor is really excited about the book, but I can't help being worried about what she'll say about it.  Sure, she read the book before acquiring it, so (presumably) she really likes it, but there's that tiny piece of me that's concerned.  Maybe, after reading it again, she'll discover that she doesn't actually like my book, but really hates it.  That she's made a huge mistake in offering me a two book deal, so she's taking it all back and my third (and fourth!) novels won't be published, after all.  Oh, and by the way, could you please send back your advance check?

Yes, I know that sounds melodramatic and silly, but as a writer, what we do best is let our minds wander.  And the darker and deeper they go, the better, it seems.  After all, who wants to read a book that's devoid of conflict where everything is just happy happy happy and works out from the get go?

I don't.

So, we spend most of our free time thinking about the what-ifs, wondering about worst-possible-case scenarios.  Which then, of course, makes us worry even more: is this too dark?  Is it not dark enough?  Is this realistic?  If I write this will anyone want to publish it?  If I do get it published, will my best friend/ mother/ husband/ sister/ daughter hate me for what I've written?

But that's okay.  Because I think that embracing what scares us most is what actually makes us writers.

So, what scares you most?

I’m the author of Scot on the Rocks and Jack with a Twist.  My work’s also appeared in the New York Post and Publisher’s Weekly.  You can find me at brendajanowitz.com.


  1. Very Nice post, Brenda. I'm scared that one day I'll lose the urge to write and I'd hate that because nothing gives me more pleasure.

  2. While reading your post, your words happened to be the same litany of fear going around in my head, and for a moment the two merged for perfect resonance--symphonic fear! (On that note, I'm going back to work...)

  3. Karin: Good point!! That's the only thing we should we scared of!

    Cindy: LOL!

  4. Hey, wait! I'm scared of those, too, Lauren!!

  5. Brenda, right now I'm worried about getting the first draft of Little White Lies done! There's just so much else always going on, and I feel distracted, especially with the holidays looming as quickly as my deadline. But, somehow, everything always seems to get done (sooner or later!). I think, as writers, we're just born neurotic. ;-) Good luck with your edits!!!

  6. Excellent post Brenda! Some of your thoughts are real valid and no doubt there's a scariness to being a writer, but I was just thinking about this the other day. I think that fear is in everything, in a lot of people who dream to accomplish anything.

    It's not so much in being a writer, but it's a fear of rejection or to be misunderstood. Even now as I seriously begin my career, I had to realize it was that very thing that was holding me back. The thing about it that makes this terror stand out so much to a writer is because Society has us thinking that we send Query letters to be "Accepted", as if we are the ones being accepted.

    In actuality the very reason we should write is because we feel 100% completely confident in ourselves and what we've written, We can stand behind it . We are writers because we know we have something to say worth sharing, worth hearing. So it is in that confidence that we should even begin to write.

    We definitely have this thing twisted. A writer is a writer because we have something to give,(We have powerful Ideas) not because we expect something to be given to us. We should have the most confidence because we provide the content. When we write we should write with confidence, and send queries as options not as a means to an end.

    My thoughts:If you don't publish me someone else will, but I have something to say and It will be published, if no one does i'll do it myself. So bite the bullet.
    You said what scares us most is what makes us writers, but I say what drives us most is what makes us good writers.

  7. April: Wow! Wishing you the best of luck.

    Susan: I always feel that way, too! Isn't it a little miracle every time we get a draft done?!