01 02 03 Amorina Rose Writes: The things we fear...... 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The things we fear......


When I write I usually have a vague heading in mind.  Even vague it provides me the direction I need.  This time however I am uncertain where this post may end up as so much is happening. As I have previously mentioned the ladies and I have together with a wonderful young man called Khalen French been plotting to produce an anthology.  We have seen this as a practise run into self-publishing but also it is something all of us have enjoyed and plan to do more of. Working together has given us confidence.

Both Alison and Kay now feel ready to have their own blogs leaving me free to take this blog with me to my website.  We will be linking to one another and guest blogging from time to time so the actual triad is continuing. We all feel we can support each other better by widening our own avenues into the marketing world. So as soon as things are up and running I will be sharing their details with you.  Alison has already done quite a bit and it is all very exciting as it should coincide nicely with the release of our joint book.  Hopefully we will also have skeleton websites but at present putting the final touches on the anthology is taking precedence.

 Over the last few years I have become I hope friends with a number of authors.  I love to review their book or email them on the odd occasion.  The contact alone is such a learning curve and I have been extremely fortunate to enjoy the books of not only good writers but lovely people. I think because writing is such hard work writers maintain a true generosity of spirit when it comes to encouraging other writers. I am a prolific reader but admit I have also read to research.  What makes the difference, what holds the reader even if the book isn’t a classic or even in the genre you prefer is a question I ask myself constantly. How is it possible that I read such a wide range and enjoy them so much?  As I find myself closer to publishing day these same things cross my mind and instead of inspiring answers they inspire fear. You would think I could save my fears until after publishing, wouldn’t you?

Those writers I have followed have given me so much pleasure that thinking myself in that same company seems almost obscene. It is such a competitive world. The anthology doesn’t scare me so much because it is a sharing and learning experience  but my novel will be a different story.  The thought crossing my mind most is that my life would have been so much simpler if I hadn’t started on this path in the first place and therefore wouldn’t be facing it right now at this much older more vulnerable stage of life.  What on earth possessed me knowing the potholes to be encountered?  In fact my writing is almost at a standstill bar the fact I am currently writing this post.

I am thinking about my website, yet to be commenced. I am working on my rewrite of the novel having decided that more dialogue would improve characterisation but am now second-guessing myself and consequently slowed right down. I am nervous about the whole writing aspect, nervous of the time it takes, of the things I have researched and know need to be started so they can be done, and there are more ands including and for what? I am terrified.

These are the facts: no-one likes to fail, it takes real guts to put yourself up for judgement, both these points are reader dependent and your peers will also be looking. I follow quite a few writers groups and the review has been a very common topic of late. Some writers actually tell you to ignore what is said. They have a point after all it can be hurtful and take away your self-confidence but if you choose to write you will have readers, and they deserve a say. Robert Jackson Bennett (http://robertjacksonbennett.com/blog/the-writers-disconnect-from-praise)  says your “self-identity needs to be flexible, modular for what you want to write and what you want to do.  Everything that readers or reviewers say about you is wholly separate from who you are and the work you’re doing. You can’t pin all of your self-worth on their praise.”  To me that makes very good sense and helps a lot but it is not really what I fear.  I am not afraid of being criticised and I know it won’t make me go into a shell, well not much of a shell.  I am the least brave person I know but I understand we have to push ourselves if we are to be valued.  Writers want to be valued so we choose our battles, including when to be brave and brave about reviews is realistic.

Public speaking is an area I have never been afraid of (yes that does sound weird considering my post) and I handle it well.  I am not patting myself on the head here. There is a good reason I do it well. My only thought when in that situation is my audience. They need access to information.  I need to concentrate on what will have them understanding; it is about them but as a speaker I can see their faces.  I can make changes.  I can raise or lower my voice, pitch it differently, meet audience eyes, move into a better position. In general a speaker is fully conscious of needs. This time last year I shaved my head. I knew I would get stared at but so what. It wasn’t about me. Gail, my very dear friend, it was all about you and the many other people over the years I have lost to that terrible disease.  I could see their faces. 

Writing is so intensely personal yet it is about the reader, a reader I can’t see.  The thought of letting them down is what I fear and I don’t have readers yet and may never have them. Writing might provide some sort of catharsis for us but at the end of the day if we put it out there to be read then it is about the reader. So I am puzzled about some author reactions. Some advocate ignoring what is said, others responding in a manner that berates the author of the words. Not all reviewers express themselves well, but let’s face it neither do all authors and it is subjective. If I compare who I give 5 stars to when I review I would confuse most people. I give my stars on what I come away with as a reader, joy of the fantasy, a few hours rest from a frenetic life .  Sometimes the theme is heavy sometimes light but the topic or genre is irrelevant to anything but the reader walking away smiling on having achieved a short escape from reality. 

Famous writers are not free from hurtful criticism even from peers who should know better.  There is a lovely example of payback which I do not agree with but found humorous anyway by Tom Wolfe. He hit back “at not one but three critics, and big names too. After receiving poor reviews of his novel, A Man in Full, from John Updike, John Irving, and Norman Mailer (who really should’ve known better), Wolfe took his time and two years later published an essay in reply. Its title pretty much says it all: “My Three Stooges.” (http://blog.bookbaby.com/2016/02/how-writers-can-respond-to-book-critics/)  

My fear isn’t about criticism.  My fear is more deeply rooted and totally personal. What if I am not capable of creating that escape? I want to so badly even for just one person.  I found a lovely quote from Gwen Stefani on her digression into dress designing. Gwen says throughout her life “three constants are: I remain real to myself, pure about the project and true to my whole aesthetic.” This is certainly true of all the many aspects of her career.  You feel this from her. She adds”. ..I discovered that people responded when I was creative, and the exchange I would get – from New York fashion shows to seeing people on the street wearing my designs – really gave me the inspiration to continue to do more, move forward with growing the brand.”(https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/key-creativityand-successis-truth-gwen-stefani ).   

This really connected with me as did her final comment.“It’s honoring that passion and drive to be honest in the moment. That’s something I’ve learned is true in life as well. For me, it’s about focusing on the present and less about what will happen at the end.”  Thank you Gwen. I have to live and work in the moment and trust I am real, pure and true, not an easy task but then what is?

Alla prossima,


P.S.  It would help a lot if I could conquer my technophobia.

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