This month, we’re talking fear on the blog.
At first, I was stumped. I’m one of those strange people who love scary movies, who thrives on books that set my hair on end and who gets a thrill out roller-coasters. I haven’t been truly afraid in a very long time–
Or, so I thought.
And then I remembered the thing I am most afraid of. People finding out my dirty little secret.
Before I tell you what it is, let me share with you a few things about myself. Let’s get to know each other a little before I dump my heartache out.
- I’m a hybrid-published author of nine books. I make a living in this industry, and love working on all things fiction.
- In my time as an author, I’ve hit the top of several lists. I’ve had some glowing reviews, and a decent number of downloads.
BUT here’s the thing: while I can write that down, categorically note it as fact, it doesn’t change the fact that at least once a week, I wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. No, it’s not menopause. It’s fear that someone is going to find out I’m a fraud. Fear that the rug will get pulled out from under me when people realise I’m just pretending to be a writer.
You see, I worry that people will find out I’m a fraud. Don’t get me wrong, I pen my own work. But I worry that the things people seem to like about it will fall away. They’ll realise they made a mistake, and that they want their $2.99 and hours of their life back, and I won’t be able to give it to them.
And while I have had many lovely reviews for my work, they’re not the ones that stick in my head. They’re not the ones I remember. At two a.m, when the world is quiet but the voices in my head are SO LOUD, when people sleep but I feel as if I’m running on a treadmill in my mind, all I see are the negatives. The bad reviews that I can remember word for word, because for some reason, they cement themselves in my brain.
Yes, you can chuck me in a screening of Stephen King’s IT and I’ll leave the cinema with a smile, but tell me you’re onto me and that you’re going to let everyone know I’m a fraud, and you’ll send me into a cold sweat.
So why have I written this post? Well, my theory is in order to conquer your fears, you need to face them. I’m putting this out there into the universe because I want this fear to go away.
I’m also sharing it because I feel like I’m not alone. Ever since I told a friend of mine about this horror, she said she felt it too. I think a lot of us just feel as if we’re winging it, when really, we’re not doing so badly.
In order to try and quiet the voices in my head, I’ve started a mental checklist I go through before I sleep. This helps me feel better about my choices, and I hope, if you feel fraudulent at times, that it helps you too.
- Did I do the best I could with the time and resources I have? If you can answer yes to this, you at least know you gave it everything you had.
- Did I learn something? If you’re learning, you’re improving. If you’re improving, you’re on track to become better tomorrow than you were today, better next year than you were this.
- Did I enjoy it? And this is the kicker. Because there’s so much about writing that’s hard, so much loneliness, so much self-doubt and negativity, that if you’re not having fun, you have to reassess. And invariably, for me, the answer to this question is always a resounding yes. I am having fun. I’m having the time of my goddamn life.
And that’s how I manage to keep the mental boogey monsters away.
What about you? Do you have a fear of people figuring you out?