Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August is Awesome Because of Sara Bowers

My next awesome guest is Sara Bowers!  I've come to expect a certain standard to be upheld by aspiring authors.  Sara has not met that standard; she has exceeded it.

Not only are her blog posts consistently thoughtful and insightful, but her comments on the blogs of others are as well.  She's quick to offer a word of encouragement where needed and a congratulations when due.

Please give her a big, warm welcome as she discusses finding the balance between the need to write and the fear of how others will receive what we wrote.


Writing: Balancing the Need and Fear
by
Sara P. Bowers
"I am consumed with the need to write and the fear of failure.
In short, I am a mess of words.
"
 - Aspiring Author Nan Axelton

When I first read this I thought it a very apt description of a writer.  But why is writing made up of two opposing sides?  How can we be consumed with the urge to write, to share our words and stories, but at the same time be consumed with fear at their reception?  As I pondered this contradiction that existed within our very souls I came to the conclusion that both the drive and the fear are necessary for success.

If we didn’t have an all consuming need to write, the fear, and difficulties of getting published, would keep us from trying.  There was once a man on the writers’ website I frequent, who put up a post saying he had written four books, pounded out a query letter and couldn’t get anyone to read his work.  He claimed that publishing was broken and unfair and that he was done.  If they didn’t want to see his work he was going to stop trying.  It was heartbreaking to see another writer give up on his goal, but at the same time I thought “He just doesn’t want it enough”.  That drive is what keeps us going during the difficult times.  While sometimes it seems a curse, especially when life gets in the way and we go a little crazy from being unable to write, it’s what keeps us going, keeps us moving forward.  We may go to sleep devastated at having to give up a manuscript we adored and the next morning we wake up with a shiny new idea. 

But what about the fear?  Why is that necessary?  Well, without the fear we wouldn’t ever improve.  I’m sure most of you have met, or at least heard of, writers that thought their writing was the epitome of literature.  They put their stuff up, not for critique, but for praise, and if anyone dares offer a suggestion they come back with excuses, explanations and possibly putdowns.  But these people never progress.  They never believe there is room for improvement so they don’t.  Fear of failure, fear of not being good enough keeps us listening to our beta readers.  It keeps us reading books on craft, attending conferences and striving to improve.  So really we should thank our fear.  Or not, you know, whatever. 

We must balance our two sides.  Too much fear keeps us from writing and too much drive without fear keeps us from learning.  As writers we may be a mess of words, but if we keep our drive and our fear balanced we just may be a successful mess.


About Sara Bowers:

Sara Bowers is Awesome!
Sara Bowers currently lives in Georgia with her husband, two children and three cats.  She graduated with a BA in Comparative Literature.  While currently a stay-at-home mother and writer, she has worked at nurseries (the plant kind), greenhouses and as a florist.  She also spent three years as a speech and language assistant at her local school district.  Outside of family, reading and writing, some of her favorite things include chocolate, gardening and quilting.  In between organizing chaos at home she spends all her free time at the computer. 

Visit Sara's awesome blog at: S. P. Bowers: It's just me.

42 comments:

  1. Great post! I've got the fear thing down pat I think. And you're totally right, it does keep me working, striving to be better. Also keeps me humble, when my fear tells me I have a long way to go.

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    1. Thanks. I'm pretty familiar with the fear too. We just need to use that to our advantage!

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  2. Thanks for having me Jeff! It's exciting to be included in this awesome month!

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    1. The pleasure is mine, Sara. Introducing so many awesome people to so many other awesome people is a rush!

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  3. "Too much fear keeps us from writing and too much drive without fear keeps us from learning."

    Such a profound statement and such a great post, Sara. My biggest fear is always the start of a new project. I'm struggling with that right now. :(

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    1. Starting can be overwhelming and terrifying. I'm always torn between the excitement of a new project and the fear I won't be able to do it.

      Good luck with yours.

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  4. Great post, Sara. I don't think I'll ever be good enough, but you're right, too much fear would be crippling. I think writing is a leap of faith more than anything.

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    1. It does take a lot of faith and a lot of determination.

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  5. Excellent points! We have to want it bad enough.

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    1. Publishing is a tough world, if we don't want it enough it won't happen.

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  6. There's so much more to fear than fear itself. :) Fear got me where I am, but it also holds me back. Most people stay tucked up in their little comfortable cocoons and never try to stretch out.

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    1. Cocoons are comfortable and it would be so easy to just stay in them, but once you get out there is so much to experience hopefully you'll never go back. Ooo! that just gave me a story idea.

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    2. Thanks for the cocoon imagery!

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  7. Fantastic post, and it is important to balance the two. :)

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    1. I don't think we can ever get rid of either the drive or the fear so we have to find a way to work with them.

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  8. Great post, Sara! It's always nice to know that other authors have the same fears.
    Nice to meet you, Jeff!

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    1. Likewise, Deniz! Nice blog you've got there. Another fun place I can visit.

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    2. It's always nice to know we're not alone.

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  9. This is so true, Sara. You've so aptly described what so many of us experience. It is a good reminder that we're not alone in these feelings.

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    1. Thanks, It is good go know I'm not alone.

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  10. I came from Sara's blog and as usual she did an amazing job of putting things into perspective. She's awesome :)

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    1. Thanks Samantha! You're so sweet!

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    2. Yes, she did. She's awesome like that! :)

      And I'm glad you dropped by! Always nice to meet a new face!

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  11. It's a desire that springs from deep down in side of us. You nailed it, Sara. Wonderful post.

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    1. Exactly! And if it's not rooted deep enough it might not survive the difficult times.

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  12. Hey,

    Thanks for sharing your fears and making me feel better - for not being alone :)

    Jeff, thanks for having Sara "on" today :)

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    1. Hey, I have lots of fears. I bet most of them would make you feel better. I'm not going to share them all though.

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    2. The pleasure was all mine, Mark!

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  13. "We must balance our two sides. Too much fear keeps us from writing and too much drive without fear keeps us from learning."

    Balance is really what's at the root of it all, isn't it?
    Great post, Sara. Kudos. :)

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    1. If only it were easier to attain balance.

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  14. PS - I love your header, Jeff. "When this world doesn't suit you, write a world that does."

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    1. Thanks, Melissa! Sometimes the only way to find what you want is to create it yourself. So glad you stopped by!

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  15. Thanks, Jeff, for having Sara as a guest. She's one of my best writer buddies from the Books and writers Forum.

    And, Sara, you're the best!

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    1. Aww, thanks Zan. You're the best too!

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    2. Me thinks you've got mighty fine taste when it comes to writer buddies, Zan!

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  16. So well stated, Sara. Sometimes I think I write and write and write and am okay with the idea of no one ever reading it but me and my CPs. And then I go, what??? I can't put all that effort and love into it and hide because I'm scared.

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    1. Fear can keep us from a lot of things but I think in the end it will be better to get out and fall down a few times and be able to share our life's work. though, I do have a few things that will never again see the light of day.

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  17. Sara,
    You Are Awesome. You've not only eloquently expressed the benefit of, and struggle against our fear, you've shown me the power and breadth of words shared. I wrote those words in angst, and trembled when I hit 'Send' from fear of revealing too much of myself.
    When I read this post, it was if you were writing to me. Then I saw how many people you touched with your words. And Then, I realized how, in an indirect way, my words touched people.
    Ah Ha moment!
    Isn't that what we as writers want, to be able to share and make a connection with people we may never meet?
    Thank you for this little blessed moment. I'm off to write.
    Nan

    Here's to being a successful mess!

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    1. Thank you Nan, and thank you for letting me quote you. Your words to touch people, they touched me when you posted that comment. It is a wonderful feeling to know what you think and feel is felt by others and that you have the power to touch their lives. If we hold onto that feeling it will get us through our fear.

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