Fear in the world of indie publishing is a nearly pointless exercise. Maybe not if our books are our only source of income and sales suddenly tank. Wow, that’s a scary thought even as a hypothetical. But for Anxious Authors who are still learning about the industry and building a career, every step comes with a brand new wave of uncertainty.
Fear is a glass ceiling and many of us are constantly bumping our heads. Every step we take upwards has us bending over further, craning our necks and trying to figure out how to smash it so we can move on. The achievements of our fellow authors are both a heartfelt encouragement and a stark reminder that we aren’t where we want to be yet. Hey, we wouldn’t be Anxious Authors if we weren’t comparing ourselves to other people every five minutes!
Failure is the medal we are fighting not to earn yet our own definitions of it make it so easy to accomplish. The pressure we put on ourselves as indie authors comes only from us and we are determined to make sure that we feel it. Because if we don’t struggle, how are we going to give ourselves any credit if we actually achieve our goals? Goals we deem earned too easily are hardly worth celebrating, are they? Goodness forbid we give ourselves another reason to call ourselves frauds.
The above is an inner monologue that is often difficult to put into words as it is usually a series of feelings that work so cohesively with each other now that they’re tough to dispute. The truth is that fear of failure is often so natural to many of us Anxious Authors that it’s almost a comfort, in some strange way. Something we might feel lost without, like just losing a limb. But oh my, there are better ways to experience our journey and sticking it to our own fears is a great one.
Often, when I feel I’ve taken a step up in my indie author career, I begin to feel a little lost. As though I’m somehow not equipped to take the next one even though I’ve just proved I can make progress. It’s that uncertainty and the chance that I might make a mistake that really gives those feelings of inadequacy its foundation.
So, how to beat it? It’s no easy task! We need a sword, a shield, clanky armour and a pet side-kick. Maybe a pony.
Actually, all of that is optional but it helps. Banishing fear is a long-term accomplishment that becomes a habit over time. I can’t say it’s a habit I have perfected but one that I’ve definitely taken steps towards owning. But essentially, the best coping mechanism I’ve experienced comes down to distraction.
Feelings of inadequacy are often completely forgotten when we focus on something that captures our attention. Something either positive or shiny, like a recent achievement or a cool rock. Have both on hand, just in case. Disrupting negative trains of thought is important in keeping fears at bay, especially if those fears are going to make it difficult for us to complete our tasks.
In short, we need to interrupt whatever is holding us back with something that makes us feel good. Rewire ourselves to make fear feel unwelcome in our brains. Because letting it take root allows it to hold us back and long bouts of fearfulness can lead to weeks or months of unproductivity. Nip it in the bud before it makes itself at home.
Remember, the only pressure we have as budding indie authors is the pressure we put on ourselves. If we become successful later, we’ll have plenty more pressure from all our adoring fans! (It could happen, don’t “pfft” me). So it’s important that now we are our own biggest fan because that is the best way to smash our glass ceilings and ensure we make the progress we are destined to achieve.
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!