On Christmas Day, while most folks were enjoying a holiday meal with their families, I was glued to the television, watching the approach of a dangerous line of tornado-producing storms.
By the time the sirens went off, I was nearly hysterical.
My fears overtook my sanity in a sweeping avalanche as I ordered my family into the hallway of our hotel to seek shelter.
We stepped into the empty passage and heard voices — in particular, the voice of an old woman across the hall reassuring relatives on the telephone that she was fine and the storm was no big deal.
When no one else emerged from their rooms, we returned to ours and watched as the tornadoes moved north and south of us, but left our area completely untouched. We never even lost power.
In retrospect, I realize my fears may have been slightly overdone.
Even in the areas where tornadoes did hit, no lives were lost because people heeded the warnings and sought safe shelter.
Was my fear completely unnecessary?
Look, fear is a natural reaction — it’s the brain’s way of keeping us out of trouble.
Fear should have motivated me to be prepared for the storm, but not to avoid my normal activities.
Instead, I wasted an entire day — *Christmas* Day! — ignoring my family so that I could memorize the Doppler radar movement and stalk my favorite storm chaser on Facebook (yes, I have a favorite storm chaser, there’s nothing wrong with that).
That’s not what fear is meant to do.
As Toni pointed out to me when I returned (accompanied by a dramatic eye roll) I got myself all worked up hours before the storms arrived even though there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop the advancing weather.
There’s a life lesson in here somewhere…
Fear should have a limited role in our lives.
We authors are a fearful bunch (I asked our Facebook fans to share some of their deepest fears this week — check them out and see if you have some of the same anxieties).
We are afraid our books will never get read.
We are afraid we’ll lose every penny we invested in self-publishing.
We are afraid of screwing up something because we didn’t know enough about it.
But those fears wind up holding us back for no *good* reason!
I read this great quote on Pinterest this week that I think you guys will love as much as I do:
“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.”
So how can we combat fears in the indie world?
We need to make three resolutions for 2013 that will help us defeat our fears and find success.
1. Use knowledge to fight fear of the unknown.
If you fear some piece of the puzzle because you don’t know anything about it, then take your butt back to school!
Whether it’s marketing, websites, blogging, mailing lists or social media that terrifies you, there are plenty of resources (*ahem* Duolit *ahem*) where you can “learn” your fears away.
None of those things are unconquerable, so put on your thinking cap and find the right place to learn the ropes.
I mean the *reality* of the worst thing that could happen — not “My book will flop and my house will fall in a sink hole and aliens will cart my family off in their UFO.”
Really, the *worst* outcome of your self-publishing journey is that you won’t sell any books or make any money.
But you can live with that, right?
I mean, it would be embarrassing and a little disappointing, but we can all agree there are far worse outcomes in life.
Also, if you work hard and create a marketing plan, you can reduce the risk (and subsequent fear) by getting your book to the right market and making sales.
3. Don’t be afraid of things you cannot change
This is huge.
You absolutely MUST let go of the things you cannot control.
It’s like my tornado experience — the worst part was the six hours of fear leading up to the arrival of the storms themselves.
That time was a total waste, because I couldn’t control the weather.
So instead of wasting the few hours you have to spare fretting over something that’s completely out of your hands, spend that time and energy DOING something productive.
Write, market, tweet, Facebook, blog, whatever, just DO something instead of sitting there too terrified to do anything.
That’s not what fear is for.
Be prepared, stay safe, but live your life.
What fear will you overcome in 2013?
Make your resolutions now.
What fear will you tackle to the ground in 2013?
If you’re not sure how to conquer your big fear, just ask us and we’ll offer some advice for how you can overcome it!