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Now there is a word no writer worth their salt would ever admit to. We are brash, brazen and bold. We ache to throw ourselves and our work to the wolves and expect whole-heartedly to walk away unscathed. We laugh at rejection. We get an idea and we sit down and write it. No qualms about it. No doubt. We know this will be our best work ever.

Or that is what we tell our fans, our interviewers, and our friends.

The truth is...writers are scaredy cats. We quiver at the thought of people not liking our work and, by association, us. We worry that our friends and family will mock us when we fall on our faces...and we will. How can we not? We are all hacks. We suck. No one could possibly love the trash flowing through our fingers onto the keyboard and into the white space that is Microsoft Word.

The good news is that because we are such creative beings, we all have superhero egos to rely on. Every time we find ourselves paralized with fear, we mentally throw on our capes, pull up our big kid undies and throw our thick skins out into the harsh world.

Dakota Rebel is my alter-ego. I have a real life name, and it is a good one. Nice and Irish, like me. But I, just little old me, is terrified of being rejected. I am terrified of showing off my work, bragging about myself, and all of the other things writers have to do everyday. And so, enter Dakota Rebel.

Dakota is not afraid of anything. She is a self-promotion machine. She writes all the time, she submits, she takes rejection in stride, and she laughs in the face of fear. (While she is doing all of this I am huddled in the corner shaking and rocking, wrapped in my own arms.) I believe that this is the real reason I chose a pen name for myself. I can blame her when things go wrong, but if they go right...well it is me after all.

I decided to write this post because I had an idea for a book. It is a huge idea. And idea of such mammoth proportions that even Dakota had a moment of hesitation. It is outside of my comfort zone. But after that split second of trepidation, Dakota squared her shoulders and dug in. There is no such thing as "outside" her comfort zone. She is comfortable wherever she is. She can take any idea and make it work. She thanked me for the idea and started writing. As if she had been waiting to write this story since I invoked her. Dakota is a dynamo.

Fear? Who said anything about fear?



Carol Lynne said...

Great post, Dakota. I have all the same fears. I have a book that I started a year ago and I still haven't finished it. I keep telling myself that I'm not ready, not good enough yet to write it. So I bring it out every so often and put the knowledge I've gained into it. The cycle keeps repeating itself. I think I've figured out that I'll continue to learn every day. If I don't pull up my big-girl panties and finish the book, I never will.

And you're right. Dakota Rebel is a fantastic name to stand behind. The name is ballsy. No one would dare mess with a woman with a name like that.

-Carol Lynne

Brynn Paulin said...

Wow, you hit that one right on the head. I have more fear than I want to deal with most of the time. Same as you, I pull out my alter-ego and say 'let's do it'.

Nice post. :-)

Molly Daniels said... original pen name was so if my book was a flop, then no one would know it was me! But of course, that was the fantasy that it would soar to the top w/o any other help from me, LOL!

Now I proudly blab my pen name and books wherever I go:)

And I too have a book I'm somewhat afraid to finish, because of the controversial nature of it. Maybe when I'm in my 80's and don't care anymore...

Bronwyn's Blog said...

Great post, D. I need to figure out some sort of fear management technique. The rocking in a corner is really wearing on my family's nerves... ;)

barbara huffert said...

Hmm, interesting. My problem is that I fear success more than anything else. That's why I haven't finished that one particular book. What do I do about that one, D?

Lisabet Sarai said...

Right on, Dakota! I've been finding it really hard to turn the critic off, lately, while I'm writing. Basically, I just have to ignore her. Write through the fear.

How many of us would have believed, before it happened, that we could really write and publish a book?

Thanks for expressing what so many of us feel.

lyntaylor said...

Another fantastic blog D! I had to giggle at the thought of you quivering in the corner LOL! And I can just see Madam Dakota bursting past with elbows flapping 'Move it or lose it sister! If you don't do it, I will!' LOL!

Dakota Rebel said...

Thank you everyone. I was a little afraid (ha ha) that this post would offend all of you successful, brave writers out there. But I am glad to see I am not the only one terrified.

Barb - All you need to do is put a metal collander on your head (It MUST have handles to protect your ears), tie a pillowcase around your neck like a cape, grab your big girl panties in both hands and run around screaming "I'm famous I'm famous bow down to the fantastic writer" until you believe. Or the men with the nets come. Maybe you should stay inside while you do this, but it is still a great plan. I do this every Tuesday. I have it written in my day planner so I never forget. Do you want to borrow my pillowcase? It says DR, but maybe I can make you your very own BH one. Hugs!