The answer: everything.
Spiders (okay, that's a given; everyone's afraid of spiders), disease, dying, being alone. But what I'm really afraid of is not being recognized for what I love and my dreams being crushed.
As a newbie writer (only been truly at it for two years, now), every rejection that comes my way is soul-crushing. I need to develop a thicker skin when it comes to this, but that takes time. Time is not on my side.
So, I'm afraid of not being recognized, not being published traditionally, not being good enough. As a dream, it may only be in my head.
Last night, someone told me, "You may never get published."
And it killed me. Because she was right. I may never be published the way I want. I have a book coming out in a few weeks with an indie publisher, but that wasn't enough. I want an agent. I want someone to tell me I'm good enough. Even if it's only one book; I WANT IT. I want it so bad that I'd be willing to sacrifice everything I have, shut myself into a room for years, and finish writing. My life has become this.
After all, it's hard to believe in yourself when, (1) All three of your full requests were rejected in five days time, (2) The only queries getting attention are those without sample chapters, (3) your request rate is only 2%, and (4) your inbox has been completely silent for days -- waiting for the other 60+ rejections to come in.
Maybe I'm not good enough? I don't know. I guess it's possible. Everyone tells me I should just write for myself. Well, I do. I do write for myself. But I want to be recognized for being at least halfway decent at it. Maybe I am spoiled. Maybe it's bad that I want things other people have. Maybe it's bad that I expect some recognition for something I may not even be all that great at.
Last night, I finished reading Dying to Get Her Man, the last in a series of novels by Judy Fitzwater. The novels center around thirty-something Jennifer Marsh, an amateur writer who's spent the better part of ten years trying to get published. Jennifer gets into all kinds of trouble, and somehow always find a murder close by her -- her being involved. And Jennifer, stubborn as she is, always has to figure it out.
In the first book, Jennifer meets Sam Culpepper. Oh, how I love Sam. Everyone loves Sam. How could they not? That slick dark hair, those deep blue eyes, his downright Vulcan logic was all it took for Jen to say yes to a first date.
Now, five books later, Sam calls her with the "We need to talk" line. They'd been dating a while and Jennifer was expecting it. But she's scared. She's scared of planning ahead because she's lived her life a certain way for years. So, instead of listening to what Sam wants to tell her, she prattles on the entire night about a woman who supposedly killed herself on the grave of her lover the night before. Jennifer seems to think that this woman didn't commit suicide.
By far this is my favorite in the series. I'd been waiting five books for Jennifer and Sam to finally say those three words to each other because I know they know it. Scared or not, Jennifer needed to suck it up, because the next morning, she finds out that one of Sam's ex-girlfriends is back in town, and Belle seems to think she can get him back...or at least that's the way it looks to Jennifer.
In the end, Jennifer and Sam have their talk. It was one of the best moments I'd had in a long time when reading a book. Sam tells her, "The first time is hard, but after that, it just rolls of your tongue. Try it." He takes her face in his hands, looks deep into her eyes, and says, "I love you, Jennifer Marsh."
Yeah, I went fan-girl "squee" all over this. Pathetic, right? Blah, blah, blah. We knew it all along, but hearing those words makes things a little more solid, don't you think?
Just like me hearing "Yes" would be just about the best thing to happen. Will it ever happen? Maybe. If I work hard enough? Perhaps. In the meantime, I've just got to focus on other things.
I'm just too impatient.