The Worried Writer Episode #14: Emma Newman ‘It’s All Bobbins’

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My guest today is Emma Newman. Emma writes dark short stories, science fiction and urban fantasy. Between Two Thorns, the first title in her Split Worlds series was shortlisted for the British Fantasy Society Best Novel and Best Newcomer Awards. Emma is also a professional audiobook narrator and she co-writes and hosts the Hugo-nominated podcast, Tea and Jeopardy.


On a personal note, I’m very excited to speak to Emma: When I fell in love with podcasts, one of my early discoveries was the wonderful Tea and Jeopardy and I began following her on Twitter and visiting her blog – which mentions ‘anxiety-wrangling’ in the tagline. It was another piece of evidence I gathered and held close while I was trying to convince myself that my own anxiety need-not necessarily stop me from creating my own stuff.

Find out more about Emma and her books at www.enewman.co.uk

Listen/subscribe to the wonderful Tea & Jeopardy podcast here.

Or find her on Twitter @EmApocalyptic

CONTENT WARNING!

The Worried Writer podcast focuses on the fears, self-doubt and anxieties of the creative life. However, as both Emma and I suffer from anxiety with a capital ‘A’, we do talk a little about our experiences of living and working with an anxiety disorder. It’s very positive, and Emma shares some wonderful coping strategies, but I just wanted to give a (very mild!) trigger warning.


In the interview, Emma talks about tenacity and how the grit developed during the pre-publication and submission process is vital after publication, too.

Emma’s ‘Agile’ writing process (taken from the software development world!). Includes planning the book in five chapter chunks.

 

 

 

 

Recommended:


On Writing by Stephen King


And in personal news, it’s publication day for my latest novel, In The Light of What We See. Hurrah!

It’s available in audiobook, ebook and paperback. Thank you so much if you take a look!

Thank you, too, for listening, subscribing, rating and reviewing the podcast. 

If you’ve got a suggestion for the show or a question you would like answered, please get in touch

Or, find me on Twitter @SarahRPainter

Please spread the word and, if possible, leave a rating for the show on iTunes. I truly appreciate your support.

Thank you for listening!

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Are You Afraid of Success?

Fear of Success

You’re probably familiar with ‘fear of failure’ – it’s one of those anxieties which makes perfect sense. Failing is bad, right? So, it’s natural that we would wish to avoid it.

But what about the opposite of failure? What about fearing success?

If you think about what success means, it’s not that odd… Success means change.

Most of us are a little bit worried about change as it carries an element of risk. The risk comes from moving from the known to the unknown. Yes, we might be able to research or even picture the situation, but until we have lived it for ourselves it remains essentially unknown.

Change is effectively a gamble that the new state of being will be better than our current one and, even with very low stakes, that can add a frisson of fear.

Success in the realm of writing brings its own concerns.

While dreaming of people reading your work, you may simultaneously dread the exact same thing. Not just because you fear your work may be judged harshly or misunderstood, but because it may be understood too well. What if people read your book and infer things about your character you would prefer remained hidden?

Success in writing equals exposure. And, let’s face it, that is scary.

Success in publishing also brings new pressures. Deadlines, the expectations of agents, editors and readers, the pressure to ‘build a platform’ and promote your work. If you envisage these things too thoroughly – and feel alarmed by them – they may rise up to block you from sending your manuscript out (or even finishing it in the first place).

Finally, and this one is a biggie: You might feel you do not ‘deserve’ success.

I’m not suggesting that this one is easily solved, but sometimes recognising (and examining) a negative thought can lessen its power.

Also, if you feel that you don’t deserve success, that you are unworthy of prioritising your writing or getting published, please know you are not alone. There is even a snappy name for it: Imposter Syndrome.

This is the feeling that your achievements (getting a book contract, a great part in a play, starting a successful business) have been acquired via an administrative error and, any moment now, the real experts/professionals/Judges of Artistic Merit are going to turn up and take it all away from you.

It’s a feeling which doesn’t go away with external validation – in fact it can get worse the more successful you become. So, the best thing to do is to keep reminding yourself that all of your most-beloved authors, musicians, actors and artists have almost-certainly suffered from it at some point (and probably still do).

Plus, if nobody feels like the ‘real deal’ you can stop waiting for that magical day and get back to work.

Are you letting ‘fear of success’ hold you back? Let me know if you want more on this topic in a future podcast!

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