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Fear

May 6, 2004

The further I get into the manuscript for The Scourge of Rome, the more fears seem to be rearing their ugly heads. I try not to dwell on them, since I realize at least in part they are the products of my own mind trying to talk myself out of this lunatic dream of mine. They are Resistance, trying to beat me back down from finally taking up the pen and writing a novel, rather than talking and fantasizing of doing so. Still, they are pernicious. It is my hope that airing them may in some way alleviate them, so here goes.

I fear not getting published. I fear that my work will be met not with scorn, but with simple indifference. I fear it won’t even get read when I submit it.

I fear that, despite what I think, it is not really that good.

I fear that, despite what I think, I’m misinterpreting the history.

I fear that my characters aren’t consistent enough, don’t develop enough, and are not interesting enough.

I fear that the novel will unravel in its final two chapters, when everything has to wrap up (at least until the second one).

I fear the sacrifices I know that I will have to make in writing a second book if this one does not get published.

I fear even more not being able to make those sacrifices.

To an extent, I fear the damage I may be doing to my career by focusing so singularly on writing. But then again, if I derive such happiness from picking up the pen, shouldn’t I be doing all in my power to turn it into a career?

I fear getting published, but not making enough to be able to write full time.

I also fear wasps, but that has little to do with writing.

So there you have it. Those are the fears that assault me while I am struggling to churn out page after page of dramatized Roman history. In that they threaten to derail me, I hate and loathe them. However, they keep me humble, keep me from overconfidence, which is I suppose a far worse affliction. After all, what sin is the most despised by almost every theology? Pride, or hubris, if you will.

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