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January 29, 2016 in The Publishing Borg | Tags: Art, author, blog, books, business, eBooks, ePublishing, social media, The Future of Publishing, The Publishing Borg, Who Dares Wins, writer, writing | by Bob Mayer | 6 comments
Your patrol is suddenly fired upon from the right. Your fear wants you to jump in the convenient ditch to the left—to avoid the ambush.
However, if the ambush is set up correctly—that ditch is laced with mines and you’ll die if you do that. In life, avoiding problems by running from them doesn’t solve the problem.
Your next fear-driven instinct is to just hit the ground. Stay where you’re at and do nothing. Except you’re in the kill zone and if you stay there, well, you’ll get killed. We all want to ignore problems. Because that’s the inherent nature of a problem. But ignoring your greatest problem will keep you in the kill zone and the result is inevitable.
The third thing you want to do is run forward or back on the trail to get out of the kill zone– escape without dealing with those who ambushed you. Except, if the ambush is done right, the heaviest weapons are firing on either end of the kill zone. And you’ll die. We want to avoid problems by going back to the past or imaging it will get better in the future even if we don’t change anything.
The correct solution is the hardest choice because it requires courage: you must conquer your fear, turn right and assault into the ambushing force. It is the best way to not only survive, but win. To tackle problems, you must face them.
You’ve heard write what you know? Maybe write what you are afraid to know. I see many writers who avoid writing what they should be writing because it would mean confronting their fears. Be curious about your fear—it’s a cave, but instead of a monster inside treasure could be inside.
Remember fear is an emotion. Action can occur even when your emotions are fighting it. Taking action is the key to conquering fear.
How do you expand your comfort zone by venturing into your courage zone? Every day try to do something that you dislike doing, but need to do. If you’re introverted, talk to a stranger every day. If you’re a practical person, do something intuitive every day.
Do the opposite of your Myers-Briggs character.
Actually, fear is the root of most failure. When I was talking to a CEO about using some of my Special Forces strategies and tactics to help her company, I asked her what was the #1 problem, not only in her company, but overall in the business world. She said fear. Regardless of the business, it was the one thing that carried over. It’s insidious and tears away at people and is the main obstacle to success. This works on many levels.
For writers, we’re afraid our abilities aren’t good enough to get published. We’re afraid our voice isn’t strong enough to write what we really should be writing. We’re afraid to take chances, to break rules, to break out of the norm.
When I turned my Who Dares Wins concepts to writing and developed Write It Forward, my goal was to look back on my 25 year career as an author and combine that with my 20 years of experience in Special Forces. I mainly blundered my way through my writing career, like many of us do. In today’s world, we can’t afford such inefficiency.
Write It Forward focuses on educating writers how to be authors and conquer their fears. Write It Forward is a holistic approach encompassing goals, intent, environment, personality, change, courage, communication and leadership that gives the writer a road map to become a successful author. Many writers become focused on either the writing or the business end; we have to integrate the two.
Write It Forward fills a critical gap in the publishing industry paradigm. While there are numerous books and workshops focused on just the writing, this one focuses on the strategies, tactics and mindset a writer needs to develop in order to be a successful author.
Under the current publishing business model, authors learn by trial and error and networking with other authors; sometimes it is the blind leading the blind. The learning curve to become a successful author is a steep one. In the past, the author might have had years to learn, and when needed, re-invent one’s self, but the business is now moving at a much faster pace. It is expected that authors not only have to write the books, but also become promoters of their books. Interestingly enough, promoter (ESTP) is the complete opposite of author (INFJ) on the Myer-Briggs personality indicator. It is difficult to go from one mindset to the other.
With more authors becoming hybrid or indie, this is even more important, because we are now wearing two hats: author and publisher. I believe that most authors can’t do both by themselves if they have more than a few books, since eBooks are organic, not static. The skill required is just too broad. Especially for a traditional published author going hybrid. In any new business endeavor it takes roughly three years to begin to master the necessary skill set. An author can’t afford to spend the time doing that.
Authors are the producer of the product in publishing. Agents, editors, publishers and bookstores are the primary contractors, processors, and sellers of that product in traditional publishing. While most agents and editors normally get educated in a career path starting at the bottom of an agency/publishing house, writers, from the moment they sign a contract, are thrust immediately into the role of author as well as promoter. For the new author it is sink or swim. Unfortunately, with the lack of author training, most sink. First novels have a 90% failure rate, which is simply foolhardy. For indie authors, a first novel is a complete shot in the dark, while trying to master all those skill sets.
Stephen King is correct. Fear is at the root of many things. Interestingly, I think for many writers what they most need to write is the book they’re afraid to write. The point of view they need to write in, is the one they like the least. But more on that in craft posts.
Here is a key question we must all answer: I’ll do whatever it takes to succeed as a writer, except don’t ask me to do XXXX.
I’m not talking about sacrificing our first born or something like that. I’m talking about something we know we need to do, but are afraid of doing. It could be a writing issue, a business issue, a promotion issue, whatever. Over the years I’ve had to conquer quite a few fears and still have some lurking out there. I had to learn how to network positively. To not be contrarian. To drop my introvert ways. What is it you just don’t want to do, but know you need to do?