My Biggest Fear As A Writer
I’ve been writing for a long time, but if I’m going to be completely honest, publication terrifies me.
Why publish my work when I can spend the rest of my life rewriting and editing the stories over and over again? After all, I don’t want to publish something that isn’t perfect, do I?
The Rules Of Writing
Long story short, I usually do a lot more writing than publishing—which is something that I’ve decided to change.
The first rule of writing is that there are no rules, but the second rule is that your work will never be perfect. I’ve had to learn this lesson multiple times, and will probably need to keep reminding myself in the future.
I’m the managing editor for The Pearl, an online literary magazine, and recently I published a science fiction short story on the site—a story that I happened to write.
It’s called Home, and it’s the first science fiction short story that I’ve ever published. It starts like this:
The bright meadow and green pasture vanished, replaced by a repulsive, violet-tinged darkness. Dry, lifeless grass crunched beneath my feet. Its color a sickly looking brown, shrouded in the same dark mauve as the rest of the landscape. Trees—or what used to be trees, lay scattered around this dark wasteland, bare and bleak.
I looked up and my breath faltered. In the sky above stood a sun, unlike any luminary I’d seen before. Its light—if you could call it that—glowed dim and unimpressive. A dark violet ring choked out what little sunlight that escaped. Surely this wasn’t my sun, and surely this wasn’t my world.
A garbled moan awoke me from my stupor. I turned, only to see a figure, cloaked in darkness which seemed to float about its body like smoke. No face—or at least no visible eyes or mouth that I could see. Only the vile darkness. It stumbled and staggered toward me, arms out, reaching, begging, threatening to drag me down with it to whatever hell it was headed for.
Neither fear nor fascination could keep me in place any longer. I ran, my feet hardly touching the accursed ground. I wove through the graveyard of trees that would have been a flourishing forest at one time—in my own world. Earth. Not this apocalyptic nightmare.
The Publishing Effect
It’s funny how much your opinion can change about the things you write. I liked this particular story a lot—before I decided to publish it.
It’s as if the moment you decide to share your work with other people, your ability to see grammatical errors, mistakes, and plotholes is heightened like crazy.
When I sat down to edit the story, I wanted to rewrite everything…but I didn’t. Instead, I made a few changes, stared at it for a while, then sent it off to be copy-edited.
It wasn’t perfect, but at least it would be published instead of collecting dust along with my other short stories.
The Red Pen Reader
I feel like for myself and a lot of other writers, there’s this bizarre fear that after we publish something, someone will go through our story with a red pen and mark every single mistake or part that they don’t like.
And if someone does have something to say that isn’t completely positive, it’s easier to focus on those negative comments than anything else.
But that’s why I published my short story online. That way, it’d be a lot harder for them to use their red pen to mark it up!
Results & Reviews
In all seriousness, after my story was published, people read it and liked it—imperfections and all.
In fact, here are a few of the reviews I received:
“Kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time! Loved reading this!”-Shelby L.
“Similar to the kids in “The Magician’s Nephew” this story transports its reader into a curiously creepy world full of vivid descriptions. This tale of uncertainty will tantalize your senses and, with its scientistic protagonist, make you question everything all the way to the end.”-Lindsey B.
“Such a gripping story! I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Such amazing descriptions and characters!”-Alli P.
“As I began this story, I was literally hooked into reading on. It was a ponderously chilling ride into a fantasy world which I hope never comes to fruition!”-Lorina G.H.
If you’re interested in reading the full story for yourself, here’s the link:
Publishing To The Pearl
If you also want to start publishing your short stories, poems, essays, or other work, I recommend you try submitting it to The Pearl. It’s a good way to familiarize yourself with the publication process and work on conquering any fears you have when it comes to sharing your writing.
Click here to learn more, or to publish your work!
Before You Go…
What terrifies you the most when it comes to writing?
Let me know down in the comments!