Jess had a terrific post this week about fear and I thought I'd add my two cents worth.
In my case, I've found fear can derail creativity faster than just about anything. Jess hit it on the head when she pointed out the "damned if you do; damned if you don't" scenario. (Get a bad review and you're convinced you suck. Get a good one and you think 'great, but will they like the next one?' Can't win-either way, the potential to play a little (or huge, depending on the day) head game with yourself is always there. Been there, done that several times.
So how do I get myself past the fear? Well, like Jess, I try and concentrate on what I have, not what I don't. I know the sun will rise and the world will continue to turn, regardless of whatever it is I'm worried about. I've written seven books, working on the eighth, I can surely come up with at least one more plot, and as Casey pointed out, even if it means reinventing myself. I've always kind of thought of it as being like a "weeble-wobble" ("Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down!" And believe me, I've wobbled plenty!)
I also have a series of one-line quotes that help me keep everything in perspective. Here's a few of them:
"Quit whining about it, and just write the damn book!" (courtesy of my good bud Joanna Campbell Slan. She meant it in the kindest way, and you'd be surprised, when I thought about that statement, how fast it snapped things into perspective for me. It made me think about all of the energy I spent stewing about something when it would have been better used by simply buckling down and getting the job done.)
"Writers who stay in the biz are the ones who roll with the punches." (that was from my agent and kind of falls into the "weeble-wobble" category.)
"Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration." (Thomas Alva Edison. This is the one I use whenever I start getting scared that I can't do something. It helps convince me that if I try hard enough, I'll have a chance at succeeding.)
Then the above quote leads to:
"I'd rather be hanged for a deer than a hare." (If I'm going to blow it…blow it big. At least that way, I know I gave it my best shot. I'd rather regret failing than not trying.)
But here's my favorite whenever I feel the fear getting out of control-a little on the facetious side, but hey, humor never hurts, right? Works great whenever I start worrying about a book signing (will anyone come?); a speaking engagement (will the crowd enjoy my talk?); appearing on a panel (what if my answers sound stupid?).
The quote is as follows:
"If they can't kill ya and they can't eat ya, how bad can it be?"
Have a great rest of the week!