Friday, August 31, 2007

Fear Factor

So, you're probably wondering what happened to the big Playground battle between myself and PC. All gung ho after drinking at a restaurant, we decided we'd start the following Monday (cause all challenges, like diets, start on Monday.) Well, then we postponed for the knee surgery and desk assembly. Didn't want anyone to have an unfair advantage that might taint their victory. We told ourselves September 1st. Hmm...that's tomorrow. So I sent an email to PC to renegotiate - yes, its the beginning of the month, but what challenge starts on a Saturday? It should start on Monday the 3rd. Wait. That's Labor Day. What challenge starts on a holiday? Tuesday then. Yes, Tuesday the challenge will begin!

I'm a little freaked out by the whole thing. Yeah, I'm sure I jumped right on it when the suggestion came up. Yes, I'm super competitive and know that the pain of losing will be much worse than the pain of pulling 140 pages out of my hind end. I know I cocked an eyebrow at her and raised the stakes so high, there was no way to blame the peach bellini and back down. But still, I worry. I worry like I do with every book, but this one is worse than the others.

I really like this book. I like the characters. I think what I've got so far is great. Yeah, there are issues, but...what if I screw it up? 140 pages, whether written in 6 months or 6 weeks can be screwed up. What if I ruin this story? This great story. This could be THE story. Makes it that much harder. And what if I don't screw it up? What if its great and it sells and they want the other three books that go with it? What if they can never be as good as the first? Darned if I do, darned if I don't, although I'd be stupid to complain about having the latter problem.

This will probably come as a shocker (hush, y'all) but my list of fears does not have spiders or snakes on the top. I'm pyrophobic, but that's an irrational fear and doesn't really count. My personality type is the mastermind. The problem solver. The perfectionist. What I'm afraid of, really afraid of, is failure. Followed up by a close second of rejection. Guess I got in the wrong business, eh? I mean, I think most people don't want to fail and they pray not to get an R in the mail, but I'm actually afraid of it. Occasionally paralyzed by it. Got that whole "if I'm perfect maybe my daddy will see and love me" or some psycho-babble crap thing going. Not as exciting as spiders or those people with odd ones like fear of hairballs or mayonnaise.

Well, I've shaken hands and gotten myself into this challenge, no matter what. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully we'll both break through our barriers and get some good work out of this. In the meantime, what are you afraid of? Share your neurosis with the group, please, so I'll feel better about this. :)



Problem Child said...

Ack, you mean *this* Tuesday? Isn't that a holiday, umm, somewhere?

My irrational fear? Well, it's not a fear, actually, but more of a 'freak out.' It's embarrassing, but clay-mation (you know, like "Wallace and Grommit" or "Chicken Run") completely gives me the willies. I can't watch it. I shudder just thinking about it.

I'm also afraid of storm drains and will cross the street instead of walk by one. Irrational, yes, but anyone who read Stephen King's IT understands completely.

It's not mayo, but possibly just as bad.

Playground Monitor said...

September 4th is Newspaper Carrier Day. The 5th is Be Late for Something Day. And the 6th is Fight Procrastination Day. LOL! THAT'S the day you should start!

Snakes! I hate snakes! I can so sympathize with Indiana Jones when he falls into that slithering mass. I'd have died from a heart attack. I won't even go into a pet store until someone's gone in ahead and scoped out where the reptile section is so I can avoid it.



Nini said...

Snakes yes! Spiders and creepy crawlies, bugs and icky things..yes....

In NY i don't like walking over the big metal things in the ground. Are they storm drains? I just feel that i'll fall in and never get out. I hate them. I'm afraid of heights. I can sit on a plane, look out the window. No problem. I can't lean over an edge and take a peek down. Sorry...i'll barf.

I'm a tad bit afraid of losing all the weight - will i change? Will i be a totally different person? What if that person isn't as nice as me? This one is the biggie and i've never, ever shared that with anyone else. that my day is starting out blue...i'm off to school in 20 minutes. Takes me 30 to get there, so by 7AM i'll be prepping for my rugrats!

Nini :)

Rhonda Nelson said...

I'm afraid of the usual stuff--snakes, spiders, anything that stings. And I don't watch scary movies. At all.

Maven LJ said...

Snakes give me the willies. And I live on the side of a mountain so I occasionally see one. It always gives me a nasty start.

I also veer around storm drains. Just in case.

I hate gory movies! I wouldn't say I'm afriad of them, but they turn my stomach so if my husband is watching one I always close my eyes. A lot.

I was afraid of more stuff when I was younger. One of the great things about growing old is that you (okay "I") have a tendency to embrace the "what's the worst that could happen?" angle. For instance, I used to be terrified of getting lost. You know, driving somewhere new, make a wrong turn, not know where I am -- the stuff of nightmares. But since this is life, I got lost a couple of times. Nothing horrible happened. I turned around. I got directions. I was late, but the world did not end.

There are a lot of natural fears that come with this business. Not good enough. The only good thing, the only good idea, the only character that will ever speak to me this way. Ack. It's enough to drive a woman batty. :-) But the choice is to write or to stop, so we push on, fears and all. Right?


Angel said...

I, too, wonder how the h*ll I got into a business that seems to bring all my natural fears to the surface. Fear of rejection, of not being good enough, of failing--all of those top my list.

Phobias, now, I mainly suffer from arachnophobia, but oddly enough, bugs and snakes don't bother me. I also have a fear of throwing up, whatever that is called. Probably goes along with my fear of losing control (hence, no excessive drinking, drug use, or bulimia in my history). Sometimes phobias can be a good thing. :)


Maven Linda said...

I'm terrified of rats. Not snakes, not spiders -- RATS. Somewhere deep in my DNA, I'm convinced they all carry bubonic plague, and if a rat gets anywhere near me all the horrid little bubons will jump off of them and onto me.

I also had a traumatic experience with mayo when I was six and for most of my life couldn't bear to see it, smell it, and God forbid any of it should actually touch me, but now that I'm older I can tolerate it a little bit better.

I hate, despise, and loathe failure, but I'm not afraid of it. The only horrible mistake is one I don't learn from, because the only thing I hate more than failure is failing at the same thing AGAIN. That's humiliating -- unless it's a game of Freecell, in which case it's a challenge.


Jen said...

Suck it up and move on SP cause you're in good company. Most writers, I've found, are a mass of neuroses. I think there are a whole bunch of us who fear rejection or not being good enough or if one book is good enough will we ever be able to do that again. One of my biggest fears is that I'm going to screw the story up -- you know, not do the characters or their story justice.

On the sort of phobic front -- I hate driving over bridges. When I drove to the readers' luncheon in Huntsville, no one had told me there was a big bridge I had to drive over. My heart races, I feel nauseous, my hands clench around the steering wheel and I damn near hyperventilate. I can walk over a bridge all day, and I can be the passenger, but I HATE driving over them. I feel as if I'm one breath away from plunging over the edge.

Instigator said...

I'm with Linda. My fear is making the same mistake twice - because then I'm just an unforgivable idiot.

I do have a rational fear of snakes due to a childhood incident with my sister. Having her scream, cry and tear my clothes off in the middle of the night because I was covered with snakes (in her mind) would be enough to shake any five year old's foundations. Unsurprisingly, she also has a deep and abiding fear of snakes - and benadryl (she had a reaction).


MaryKate said...

I don't like snakes, or sharks. Both terrify me. But the things that show up most in my nightmares are alligators and tornadoes. So I guess subconsciously they must be the things I'm most afraid of.

We had mice in our house this summer :shudder:. It was revolting. They are mobile little creatures and can be quite unpredictable. They don't scare me per se. But they will absolutely evoke a major girlie squeal out of me.

Kathy said...

Clowns! Spiders! And not being perfect, which means I'm screwed.

(rgarf, that's just weird)

Pat L. said...

Snakes! Need I say more.

Anonymous said...

My biggest fear is being alone. I won't shower if no one is home. I have nightmares about being the only survivor of a crash that takes my entire family.

Depressing I know!

My verification word is:ifkxmly

Barbara Vey said...

I have the fear of appearing stupid. I really don't think I'm stupid, I'm just afraid of "people" thinking I'm stupid. I know, this is a stupid thing to be afraid of.

As for the fear of writing or not writing, I've found that that appears to be the sign of a great writer. So there you go, you're right on target.

Holy cow, I think this is the stupidist comment I ever wrote.