It’s All Right To Feel A Little Fear

So I have hooked and crooked my way into ownership of a new computer, one that isn’t a collection of interconnected old parts cobbled together into a semblance of semi-functionality. Because of that, I now have a number of projects going.

First, I am starting to scan my novels into HTML format (thanks to some Iris soft/hardware) to format for the Kindle. I bought old copies of all of them from Amazon’s shops, and am in the process of cutting the pages apart with an X-acto knife and feeding them through my nifty little scanner.

Second, I am in the process of formatting my three VBS plays for publication through Lulu.com and for the Kindle. The big hangup here seems to be the name of the imprint I will use for my self-publishing efforts. I’m trying to some up with something with a slight Biblical reference, but nothing to give the impression that it’s strictly a religious imprint since the Kindle versions of my SF novels will be under the same imprint, along with cd’s or mp3’s of my music, if I ever get around to recording them. But nobody likes what I’ve come up with so far. Oh,well.

Third, I’m in the process of working out a new design of the website to coincide with the launch of all this previously mentioned stuff.

Finally, I’m editing the book code-named …and that’s the end of the news because, well, with a little work it’ll be ready to hit the markets. It deserves better than to sit in the metaphorical closet under the metaphorical bowling shoes.

Funny thing about and/news. After I got my Kindle in February, I decided to read the manuscript again in preparation for editing it. Thing is, I wanted to read it in such a way that I wouldn’t start marking it up, as is my instinct. Then I got a brilliant idea. I emailed it to my Kindle and read it there.

That experience was remarkable. It had the psychological impact – for me, anyway – of reading the book in a final form. I was able to actually step back and read it as a story, like it was coming out of a published book. At one point in my reading, I decided to try having the Kindle’s Text to Speech feature read parts of the book to me during my commute. And heavens to Betsy, what a rush that was. You’d have thought that I was listening to an official audio book narrated by James Earl Jones himself.

Then something else happened. I started to feel a little scared and a lot sad. Because for the first time, as I was reading one of my own pieces of writing, I could tell it was good. Really good. And then it hit me: what if I never write anything else this good again?.

That’s something I’m having to work through.

Currently, I’m about two-thirds of the way through taking a red pen to the manuscript. Then I will be going to the computer to put in the changes and rewrite from scratch some of the scenes that need work. Looking again at what I did, even with red pen in hand, that wistfulness and fear is coming back.

But I’ve decided to try and channel it.

I think and/news is good. And instead of being scared of it, I should let it make me feel confident that I can go on to another similarly epic project – not necessarily epic in pages, but epic in scope, perhaps. I’m thinking that perhaps soon will be a good time to start my UFO novel. Oddly enough, that book is going to be a study of human nature, and there’s going to be a lot of emotional depth to it. There’s emotional depth to and/news, so I’m thinking that perhaps it was a kind of dress rehearsal for writing the UFO book.

Instead of letting that fear and wistfulness intimidate me, I’m going to try and channel it into something good. So I’m looking at it as a kind of stagefright, the kind that always grips me on opening night. The feeling that, if I didn’t get it, I would worry about how lame my performance would be. Call it that jumpiness that a race horse gets before the gate opens, although my own personal thoroughbredness is questionable.

That’s where things stand today. I’m coming back onto the main road after the detour, the map is a little out of date, but I still pretty much know the way. Let’s see how far I can get before stopping to ask for directions.

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4 responses to “It’s All Right To Feel A Little Fear

  1. Joe – a quick question about your UFO book: will that be a book about the Gerry Anderson TV show or the rock band? Just curious. Either one would be AWESOME!!!

    Your buddy…

  2. Half way through book 3 now. I never did find a copy of CM. I will search a bit on Amazon. Your old stuff was great, perfect for what it is. I am eagerly awaiting a sample of some of the new stuff.

    You might be watching too many movies. There is a common theme of the struggle to hit one high point, then easy street from there on. Life in the default world rarely follows that pattern. I thought life would be perfect when I owned a pizza shop. Did that, then opened a chain, then a flagship 200 seat (huge for Japan) place.

    In the end, you just have to say to yourself, “This too shall pass.” That goes for the good times as well as the bad (and/or fearful) times. You would have to write some serious garbage for a very long time to turn off your fans, and I don’t think that is possible. I get a kick out of it every time when you mention your least selling books made you the most money.

    Go back and read your Bio from DM. It is okay to put out something that isn’t the best from time to time, just keep it coming. That fear might just be the thing that keeps our warm at night this winter.

  3. The “what if I’ve peaked” thought is a scary one. I listen to some stuff I did in college and later, where I step programmed some songs solely on instinct – or collaged together some vocal snippets from TV overlayed on a rhythmic pattern – or spliced together analog signals that intertwined to make some cool sounds, and I think: Was that it? Am I wasting my time from here on out?

    I hope that the fallacy there is that I’m wanting to recreate a certain gestalt of creativity that’s long gone. This is the now, and my job would be to take the new tools and do something creative with them and not try to recreate the 70s.

    So, in order to address that, I’ve done nothing at all for 16 years…. ;-)

  4. @ dmax – It’s useless to try and recreate the past, because what worked back then worked because it was back then. Better to channel talents into the use of new tools, stuff relevant for now.

    @ Pizzamancer – well said, well taken.

    @ Michael – actually both – the respective groups meet at a London night club where The Pink Floyd Sound is playing in residency…

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