Gates, Bars, and Fear

Of late, my thoughts (when I’m not actually bashing my head into a wall getting back onto the writing horse) have been turning to what it is exactly that I intend on doing here. And I know, I know – big plans, etc., keep your eye on the feed, yadda yadda…

But I’ve been thinking about one of the themes I see in my writing – paying a price. Anything worthwhile has a price associated with it. In Cost of Miracles, it was the sanity of one of the characters. In High Moon, it’s the service the Sinner does for the Preacher. In real life… what is the price we’re willing to pay for success? Is it worth it?

What do I mean by that? Well, I was thinking about writing and publishing, and how the bars to entry have come down so significantly. You’ll note that I have a small publishing venture of my own. The gatekeepers have been kicked out, told to take a hike, and in have come people with stories to tell. The gates are really demolished. Anyone with access to the internet can go to blogger or WordPress, set up a free site, and start writing their stories. I did that myself last year – Mad Poet Files started in exactly that same way. A free site, set up on blogger, where I was going to (and did) write stories and put them up on the internet for people to see, to hear, and to buy – maybe. And my expectations were that people would enjoy the stories, and maybe pay a couple of bucks to read them in their e-reader. Oh, how high were my expectations! I didn’t realize that while the GATE was down, the BAR was still up there, and it was a pretty high bar to hit.

The Bar… Oh let there be no moaning of the bar… yes. The bar. The bar of quality. Anyone can come in and write. It takes time, patience, practice, skill, craft, attention, soul, art, heart, and I’m sure all kinds of other things that people can add to that list to clear the Bar. Looking back at my work last year, I don’t know that I cleared that Bar. What I do know is at some point, I got so caught up in my failed expectations that rather than correct my expectations, I quit.

Yes, I was a quitter. A nancy-boy. A wimp. A Very Special Snowflake. That’s what I was.

And I didn’t realize that I needed to pay the price in time, sweat, and practice, to clear that bar. To keep going toward the promised land. To overcome my own fear.

Fear? What does fear have to do with it? Everything. And it’s based on some truths, and some lies.

Fear is that little voice that says you’re not good enough and that therefore you should quit. You may not be good enough – yet. That may be true. But should you quit? No. Adjust course, reconsider your expectations, have hope, dig in, adapt, improvise, overcome, yes. But quit? No. Never. As Churchill said, “Never give in. Never give in! Never, Never, Never, Never! In nothing, great or small, large or petty, never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.” Three months of writing, and throwing in the towel because I don’t know what the market ramifications are? Screw that. Not knowing what the market ramifications are? Not planning for it, not trying to use it for my own advantage? Screw that action too. Reach, Practice, Play. Right? Fun, Right? When a defensive lineman squares off against a center just before the snap, they’re playing a game, right? Fun, Right? Look in their eyes as they stare each other down. Fun. Right.

Fear is that little voice that says you’re not ready, not able, not worthy. You may not be ready today. You may not be able today. You may not have paid your price yet. I may not have paid my price yet.

Yet.

So yeah, stay tuned, blah blah blah… more stuff coming, yadda yadda yadda… Get it together, Osaka.

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