Saturday, May 05, 2012

Being Qualified to Overcome Fears

By Keith N Fisher

The Conference is underway, and the classes are terrific. I’m also getting reacquainted with friends, colleagues, and publishers. Do you remember my post a few weeks ago when I talked about Star Wars and what I’d like to see in the next movies? Well, yesterday, I listened to the man who wrote the stories.

Kevin J Anderson was our keynote speaker at the conference, and I’m scheduled to take a class from him this morning. In his address, Kevin talked about being given the opportunity to write Star Wars stories and he wrote the trilogy that I wished for. Kevin has enjoyed a wonderful career writing more books than I could read in . . . well, it would take a long time. He also co-authored a book with Dean Koontz.

Kevin ended his speech by pointing out his career has gone the way it has because he was willing and ready to act when the opportunity came along. I thought about that and wondered if I would be ready. Like many of you I’ve always thought of my writing as a personal thing. I want to pick my projects and do them, my way.

That isn’t to say, Kevin hasn’t written his stories his way, but I’ve turned down opportunities to write biographies and other write on demand projects. My reasons have always been my unwillingness to give up my independence. Now, I’m wondering how many career making chances I’ve boggled.

I talk a big talk about my dedication to this craft, but am I really just afraid? If George Lucas offered me a chance to write what Kevin wrote, I would be honored, but would I do it? Fear of failure runs deep in my life.

Many years ago, my father pulled some strings to get me into the Milrights local of the carpenters union. I didn’t know much then. In fact, most apprentices could show me up without effort. I kept my head down and paid attention learning more about precision tools for alignment everyday. I worked on several projects as an apprentice. Then, the business agent sent me on a job out of state. I’m sure he thought he did my father a favor by sending me out as a journeyman, but it was obvious to the crew that I was a fake.

I did my best and ended up replacing the decking on a cooling tower. I also retrieved dropped tools from inside. Imagine climbing into a framework of hot wood with hot water dripping down on you. The rising steam makes you feel like a steamed lobster.

The point of the story is qualifications. There were many things taught to me by my father, including balancing a drive shaft for a turbine, but I knew I wasn’t qualified and I was frightened. That, I believe, holds me back in my writing. After all, I’m not an English major. In fact I failed the subject in high school. Is that too much info? Do you think less of me now?

It’s time to move on. I’m not getting any younger. I’m going to accept the offers that come my way. Then, if in the meantime, my fiction gets published, I will be able to look back on the career I always wanted, but felt unqualified for.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week

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