Halloween, celebrated on October 31, is traditionally about ghosts, goblins (whatever they are) and other scary stuff. Facing your fears, as it were.
Like most introverts, I have many fears, none of which are in any way even remotely related to the supernatural or paranormal. In truth, one of my greatest fears (other than invisible lurking spiders) is public speaking. Oh, I can carry on a reasonable conversation standing around in a large group of people, but put those people in a chair, me in front of them with a mic and I freeze. I completely forget the English language and the sea of smiling humans becomes a throng of drooling, snarling werewolves waiting to devour me.
Earlier this month, I had an opportunity to sit down with a published author with the intention of putting together a 3 line pitch so I could be ready any time someone asked me about my book.
Immediately, this author picked up on the fact that the whole idea of cold pitching to some hapless editor or agent sent me into full blown DT’s. She very gently talked me down from the ledge and somehow, she magically unraveled my stuttering, stammering synopsis and helped me create a 3 sentence pitch. It worked!
When someone gifted me with an unexpected pitch appointment with an agent, I sat down, smiled, and in a semi-controlled voice, gave my pitch. I didn’t run away, I didn’t hurl—I even remembered her name—and mine!
The pitch worked so well, the agent requested a full manuscript.
Now, let’s talk about REAL FEAR.
REAL FEAR is sitting down at your computer, booting up your manuscript file and discovering there is absolutely NOTHING in your brain worth writing about.
That’s where I’m at today. I’ve done all the right things. Lit the candle, surrounded myself with green, have a comfy chair, there’s a bottle of booze within easy reach and I still can’t think of one damned thing to write that is remotely of interest to myself, let alone someone else.
Desperate, I fall back on the old if you can’t write something brilliant, write crap. You can always delete the crap, but there’s not much you can do if the page is blank.
So, dear readers, there you have it, my ultimate fear; facing down the blank stare of the word processor.
Here's a tidbit of my WIP for your reading pleasure:
He walked up behind her as she stood alone on the edge of the crowd. “You look lovely tonight, Miss Habersham. Quite an improvement over this morning.”
James smirked. “I must admit my education did not include how to behave in the presence of feminine brewmasters.”
“How--?” Charlotte’s eyes widened for the briefest of moments, then they narrowed to angry slits. “What on earth are you talking about, Sir?”
“Come now, Miss Habersham…or should I call you Charlie? Do you think me lame of mind as well as of limb? Surely you knew I’d conduct a discreet investigation if I’m to keep your secret. I wouldn’t want to engage in any illegal activities, would I?”
James knew it was cruel to toy with Miss Habersham in such a fashion, but he couldn’t seem to help himself. “It is quite astonishing what some will reveal when tempted with the promise of a coin or two.”
“Tsk, tsk, my dear. Mendacity does not become you. That pulse at the base of your throat gives you away in an instant,”
What is your ultimate fear? Is it something tangible like spiders? Or is it something more indefinable? Have you overcome your fears or have you conquered them?