Can’t Hit Send?

hitting sendA writer emailed me:

The novel is finished, the query letter is drafted, the synopsis is as tight as I can get it, and I still can’t bring myself to hit that damned “send” button. I’m sure you see the work of many writers who query too eagerly and make bone-head mistakes… I’m trying to avoid making one of those blunders right now.

Plenty of writers can relate to this. There’s always a nervousness that comes with putting yourself out there, especially if you’ve been preparing for a long time.

I had a great conversation with a friend over lunch where we tried to identify the things that hold us back in our work. We tried to be really honest about our fears and talked about ways to keep our fears from impeding our success. I realized that I sometimes have the same fear of hitting “send” when I’m submitting an important project to editors at major publishing houses.

What holds us back? It’s our fear of failure. As soon as we put it out there, we become open to rejection. What if we did it wrong? What if it’s not good enough? What if someone says it’s horrible? Can I handle that?

I even feel that way about the blog sometimes. What if my post is awful? What if nobody comments? Hitting “publish” is a risk every time.

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  • http://redmybooksandlosetenpounds.blogspot.com/ Aurora

    Dont be “scurd” just do it.

  • http://www.agirlandherdiary.blogspot.com Stephanie Scott

    I am this person. I submitted excerpts and pitches to a few blog contests last fall, garnered some agent interest, and then was subsequently rejected–which is the more likely scenario than being signed as a client, I understand, but I couldn’t get over how I shouldn’t have sent my MS out as early as I did. Then again, I wouldn’t have gotten the agent feedback, and it did help to pinpoint specific issues, especially with those who read the full MS. Still… I worry all the time whether my revisions are strong enough, and when to try again.

    • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

      You got feedback? And – someone read the entire manuscript? Priceless.

      • Stephanie Scott

        True! I also overthink things. But I’m not giving it up, because I’d rather overthink than under. It’s the self doubt I can do away with.

  • http://flowerpatchfarmgirl.blogspot.com/ Flower Patch Farmgirl

    So timely. Thanks for the nudge.

  • Jennifer R.

    I have perfectionism paralysis. Forcing myself to send work off to my monthly critique group has helped, but I know these are still drafts so it’s not as scarey. I’ve been tweaking my query for I don’t know how long.

  • http://www.kimkasch.blogspot.com Kim Kasch

    I have a gfriend who has 12 manuscripts in her drawer that she hasn’t sent out. It’s called “Submission Block”. It’s worse than never getting published after sending out.

    My motto is: “It’s better to FAIL at doing something than to SUCCEED at doing nothing.”

    Submit ON!

  • http://theotherstephenking.com Stephen H. King

    “You are definitely opening yourself up to rejection, but you could be opening yourself up to your future, too.”

    I love this sentence. Thank you for an inspirational post.

    • Jackie Ley

      I love it too, and although I identified 100% with the ‘press send’ angst – I’m going through it myself at the moment – how great to have that risky edge to your life that means any day now, you could hit the jackpot.
      Help, I just re-read that statement. It sounds like I should sign up for Gamblers Anonymous!

  • http://capturingtheidea.blogspot.com/ Alexis

    Um, maybe I’m the only writer to say this but I don’t fear pressing the send button when submitting a manuscript. I’m filled with hope whenever I submit my work, praying that one day it will reach a great agent and I’ll be a full-time professional writer with all the fixings (agent, contract, book deal, bestselling books). Pressing “send” makes me get excited about my dreams coming true, God-willing. :)

  • http://notebooksisters.blogspot.com cait

    Thanks for this post! I’m at that “all ready to go but no guts to hit send” with my query. Sometimes I wonder if I should stop researching and overloading my brain with more and more advice, and just have a go. This advice is very timely for me! :)

  • https://www.facebook.com/EvangelistTheresaJeanetteScott Theresa Scott

    Great article. If I didn’t know any better, I would think that were you and I having that conversation.

  • http://www.fantasyscroll.com Iulian Ionescu

    Oh, I can so relate to this. It takes me forever to let a story go. As a matter of fact, after I am done sending it, I still do another set of edits. That is not healthy :)

    Thank you,

    Iulian

  • http://crowproductions.com Joan Cimyotte

    This post is oh so true. And reading people’s comments just shows the full spectrum of our fears; failure, rejection, a waste of our precious time.
    I sent out queries, but now I feel embarrassed by thinking my novel was anywhere near being ready for someone to consider. I’ve been working with an editor and it was truly eye-opening.
    Although I will fear the “Send” button, I feel more confidant with the material I have to offer.

  • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

    There are some folks – perfectionists and those who think too much – who need to follow the idea, “anything worth doing is worth doing badly,” in order to escape paralysis.

    I have been told, repeatedly, by three life long friends, that I think too much. Thus, I must be impetuous about a couple of things: 1) Haircuts and 2) pressing send or publish.

  • http://whatnotshop.blogspot.com Linda G Hatton

    Yes, yes, yes! Even as I still fumble on Twitter, I have those moments. Note to self: Face the fear and do it anyway (and work on continuing to educate myself to do it better next time).

  • http://www.fromthecarteltochrist.com Jack E Rausch

    Great to know I am not alone, but even better to know that proper preparation leads to publication.

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