Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Writing Under the Influence…of Fear by Sondra Kraak

Whether we recognize it or not, our culture runs on fear. Fear of growing older, fear of missing out, fear of future disaster, fear of being alone, fear of that other political party or religion. Advertisers and news sources prey on our propensity for fear, because when we are afraid, we buy things, do things, and consume things. We stay glued to our media source for essential knowledge. We splurge to buy that product that will make us look ten years younger or help us avoid cancer.

All because of fear.

But what about our writing? How is fear influencing our careers or our manuscripts? Consider the statements below.

Fear of man
• I need industry gatekeepers (agents, editors, publishers) to put their stamp of approval on my writing for me to feel like a real writer.
• I avoid certain themes I want to write about (for instance, abortion or divorce) because others might disagree or misinterpret or place labels on me.
• I say “yes” to projects God isn’t calling me to because others are telling me I should.
• Negative reviews crush my spirit.

Fear of provision
• I rush my writing because I need to produce more to increase my income.
• I choose avenues of publication solely based on money, ignoring the aspect of calling.
• I limit writing time because I don’t feel justified spending so much time on what isn’t producing much money.

Fear of rejection
• I come up with excuses not to submit to agents and editors, but really, I just don’t want to hear, “not interested.”
• I don’t pitch my dream ideas because they seem too outside the box.
• I don’t join a critique group because I’m afraid my writing isn’t good enough, or that I’m too sensitive to handle negative feedback.
• I don’t ask authors for endorsements or support because I don’t want to be turned down.
• I don’t attend conferences or events because I feel like I’ll be left out or overlooked by others who seem to be friends.

Fear of not being in control
• I don’t need critique partners—or I don’t listen to the ones I have—because I can’t trust other people’s opinions, and I think I know best.
• I publish independently because I don’t want to submit my writing to the structure and processes of traditional publishing.

The inventory could go on and on, right? But this blog post shouldn’t, so let’s close with…

Three Ways to Combat Fear-Decisions

1. Be intentional with social media. Humans are like herd animals. When we sense or see fearful reactions, we get pulled in. On the other hand, community also balances us, so be intentional with your how, when, and why of social media.

2. Listen to trusted industry voices. It’s easy to find a voice out in internet-land to affirm whatever we want to think. But what about finding an industry mentor who knows more than we do and submitting to his/her wisdom? Trust like that is hard but worthwhile, and the humility involved in sitting beneath a mentor does beautiful things to the spirit.

3. Stop thinking and keep writing. Fearful thinking is circular thinking. It rehashes the same lies and becomes like a tire stuck in the mud. This impedes productive thinking. Instead, turn off that inner critic and write.

What are the fears that plague you as a writer? And how are you taking steps to be free of them?

Fearful thinking is circular thinking. It rehashes the same lies like a tire stuck in the mud and impedes productive thinking. Instead, turn off that inner critic and write. @SondraKraak @MaryAFelkins #SeriouslyWrite

Sondra Kraak, a native of Washington State, grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, Instagramming about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain but nourish the soul. Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble, was an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Unpublished Women's Fiction Award. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook and join her newsletter for a free short story and information about special devotional series.

Connect with Sondra
Instagram www.instagram.com/sondrakraakauthor
Facebook www.facebook.com/SondraKraakAuthor
Website www.sondrakraak.com

One Plus One Equals Trouble
The one room schoolhouse isn’t big enough to hold thirty-four students, let alone the egos of two teachers. He can’t afford to lose the position, and she refuses to lose her heart. Washington, 1891 Humiliated after her broken engagement, Claire Montgomery flees her comfortable life in San Francisco for a teaching position in Pine Creek, Washington, a dot of a town nestled in the rugged Cascade Mountains. She’s determined to succeed—for once in her life—only to discover, upon her arrival, that success will have to be won. Thanks to a school board error, two teachers have been hired. When scandal forces professor Barrett Clarke from his position, he returns to Pine Creek where his uncle, chairman of the school board, sets forth an irresistible offer: teach one year in return for ranchland. For this would-be rancher, nothing is more tempting than resurrecting his childhood dream, and nothing can deter him from earning that land. Except perhaps Claire Montgomery. Losing the battle for the classroom means losing the ranchland, but winning may mean losing Claire’s heart. With large doses of humor and romantic tension, this Christian historical love story offers a picture of grace, forgiveness, and finding true worth.