It’s the Little Fears that Gnaw on Deb Linda

I’m pretty good at handling big fears. I tend to face them head on, stare them down, and dare them to try and crush me. Marshall my inner forces, and defeat them with the mighty force of my indomitable will.

But those little things…they get to me. The crazy things, the things no sensible person would waste precious worry-time on, nibble away at my psyche and tie my stomach in knots.

It’s like this — I’d much rather face one big shark than a school of piranhas. At least with a shark you have a chance. You hit its nose hard enough, and you might just convince it you wouldn’t make a tasty tidbit to eat. But piranhas? Slap one away, and ten more will be biting chunks out of various parts of your body before you take your next breath.


Linda’s Little List of Writing Piranhas


What if I get carpal tunnel syndrome so bad I’m forced to type with my toes? Or worse, have to train a parakeet to take dictation for me?

(No, those aren’t my feet. Not my parakeet, either. And is anyone else wondering if that bird pooped on the keyboard? Because cleaning bird poop out of the keyboard would be one more thing to worry about. Just sayin’.)



What if I tweet something SO STUPID all my followers dump me en masse?


What if that Mayan Calendar end-of-the-world thing is true, and the world will end in 2012? (It would be just my luck to finally get a book deal, and then have the whole world end before the first one hits the shelves.)



What if I get hit by a bus the day before my book is released?


What if my husband’s boss reads my book and fires him for being married to someone who could write a book “like that”?


What if my cover sucks?


What if one of my former English teachers reads my book and is compelled to take out a full-page ad in my hometown newspaper disclaiming any responsibility for my mangling of the English language?


What if my publisher has a “What were we thinking?!” moment and decides it would be better to buy out my contract than go though with publishing my book?


What if Sweden sues me? (Um, you’ll understand that better after you read the book. If, yanno, the publisher goes through with publishing it.)


What if I gain fifty pounds from eating all the leftover Halloween candy, and then can’t lose it before my book is released?


What if the (NYT bestselling, way-too-cool-for-newbie-me) authors* who agreed to read my ms and give blurbs for it HATE it with such passion they can’t think of one positive thing to say about it? (Seriously, this one is killing me right now.)

*I can’t tell you who they are, because it would be too humiliating if they decide it sucks and they can’t blurb it without risking their professional integrity.


What if my computer crashes at the same time my house burns down, destroying all backups of my books?


What if the brilliant idea for my WIP that came to me in the middle of the night, and disappeared with the dawn, never, ever comes back to me again?


What if In A Fix turns out to be just a flash in the pan, and never hits its target?



Honestly, I could go on and on. But I’m also *cough* afraid of boring you to death.


So, are your fears sharks or piranhas? What’s the silliest fear you have?


Have a great weekend! If you can find a spare minute, please stop by tomorrow and meet Joanna Bourne, author of the popular Spymaster series. You might even win her latest, The Black Hawk. I just got my hands on it, and it is delicious! (Of course, now I can add another piranha to my list — I’ll never write anything as half as good as this book.)

52 Replies to “It’s the Little Fears that Gnaw on Deb Linda”

  1. OH MY GOD, I have the Mayan Calendar fear, too! What if the world ends before my 2013 publication date?! That would suck!

    I occasionally worry that a parent in my school district will find something objectionable about my book, take it to the school board, and get me fired.

    And I expect to have a few moments of pure terror when my editorial letter arrives by email — in those seconds before I open it.

    1. Whew! Glad I’m not the only one with neurotic Mayan apocalypse fears. *grin*

      And I used to have a similar fear when I was teaching, only it had to do with my moonlighting in theater. When you teach at a Catholic school (yes, even though I’m not Catholic, but that’s another blog post), you tend to worry about what the parents — and the nuns — will think about you playing a showgirl who rips off her skirt and struts around onstage in fishnet stockings. (Truly, it was FUNNY, not racy. *grin*)

  2. You are indeed a worry wort, Linda. Take a deep breath. Slowly, let it in and out. You know, whatever you think ends up in the universe so you better take a chill and start thinking Happy Happy thoughts you know. Otherwise you’re gonna bring all this doom and gloom to your life. Okay I’ll start, Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman, and a young Robert Redford hanging out in a hot tub reading your book, waiting for the waiter with champagne, and the PR department to snap photos for your mega debut launch party. How’s that?

  3. You are sooo funny! Love your post! Were those Deb Tawna’s feet? they sure look familiar.

    I have shark fears. Please don’t reject my work! other than that, what else is there to worry about?

    P.S. did I save the last version of the document?
    P.S.S. is it on my flash, laptop, or desktop?
    P.P.S.S. CRAP, did I post an unfinished blog?

  4. What if that guy with the shotgun in the picture up there doesn’t get socks on with his birkenstocks before the first frost?

    What if I stab my boss with a dissecting probe the next time she makes a disparaging comment about romance novels?

    1. Thanks a lot! Now I’m worried about that guy’s toes possibly getting frost-bitten.

      And I think your boss deserves it, so I refuse to worry about THAT. πŸ˜‰

  5. Okay, a few things first. The Mayans (what’s left of them) have publicly said the whole calendar thing is bunk, so you can cross that one off. I had the back-up fear until I put my work onto a memory stick and had my husband bring it to work to store in a locked drawer. Fire insurance. When he brings it home to update, I make him bring it directly to his car when I’m done. You could also email a copy to yourself, that way there’s a copy not tied to your computer memory. Last, I keep a pen and a blank journal with a book light next to my bed for middle-of-the-night ideas. Preparation, that’s the key. Oh, and the flash-in-the-pan thing? I don’t see that happening.

    As for me, I used to be afraid that no novel of mine would ever be published, thereby rendering all the time and effort I put into them useless. Then I realized, no it wouldn’t. That time wasn’t wasted; I enjoyed every minute of it. Now it’s just spiders. Seriously, those suckers can drop on you from nowhere. Gah!

    1. But what if the Mayans (what’s left of them) are only saying that to prevent a world-wide panic? Huh? Didja think of that? *grin*

      I actually do back up my work rather obsessively, and I do email it to myself. Of course, if Google has a catastrophic failure at the same time all my memory sticks crap out, I’m still sunk. πŸ˜‰

      I tried the notepad by the bed trick, but somehow my brilliance didn’t transcribe well. For one thing, by half-asleep handwriting sucks. And what I could decipher said something like β€œThe dog has genetically altered fleas!” Which might have been helpful if my WIP had a dog in it.

      And spiders…*shudders*

  6. Talk about being on target! You nailed them all, dear!

    I think what’s especially scary is that everyone of these fears remains even AFTER the book is on the shelf! (Except maybe the will-they-change-their-mind? one–then you have to worry about that for the NEXT book!)

    As always, humor is the best defense against fear. That and chocolate. Which of course brings us back to fear number 10…

    1. Really, it’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it? If merry-go-rounds make you sick, writing is perhaps not a good career choice. *grin*

    1. ACK! Danger, danger! There’s a new piranha in the water — my agent is going to beat me up!

      Oh, wait. I can just sit on her. πŸ˜‰

  7. oh man, there isn’t enough space on the interwebs for me to list the things that scare/worry me. suffice it to say, i COMPLETELY empathize with you, linda.

  8. I’m with you on the fear of a horrible cover and gaining too much weight before a book release, lol! I’m more afraid of what will happen after I die than dying before I see my book on shelves. Also, I’d be more worried about my husband’s colleague offering to give me advice on how to improve the book than viewing him in a negative light because of it. Although I do wonder what my in-laws will think of my sex scenes :).

    1. I ascribe to the theological theory that God gives extra credit for making people laugh. It’s my only hope of a passing grade. If it proves not to be true…well, I’m probably sunk. πŸ˜‰

  9. All legitimate fears! Well, some of them… πŸ™‚ You don’t want to be at the other extreme where you’re so carefree that when something bad happens it’s so unexpected that it stuns you. But I’m with Michelle on this one — most of these are outside your control, so there’s no point in worrying about them. Get Zen! πŸ™‚

    I would worry only about the candy. Find ways to get rid of it! Or dispense it only as rewards for yourself when you do something good! :))

    1. Ta-da! I have used my new Zen powers to release your comment from spam jail. πŸ˜‰

      So, this “Zen” stuff — is that a brand of chocolate? Because if that’s the case, I could really get into it.

  10. You expressed my biggest worry or thing that makes me sad, not so much fear. I read a really good book, a Crusie or a Samuels/O’Neal or anything by any of Jayne Ann Krentzs names and I think, I can never be that clever or write that well.
    Judging by your blog, I really don’t think you need to have that fear. I have every confidence your book is going to be wonderful!

    1. Aw, thanks. That means a lot to me.

      It’s tough not to compare ourselves to other writers, isn’t it? But therein lies madness, I suppose. Guess we’ll just have to be the best us we can be, and try not to stress the rest. πŸ™‚

  11. Well, you certainly hit most of my writing fears – the only one of mine you missed was: what if I get that agent/publishing deal and my DH leaves me (this harks back to when I was published in a magazine and newspaper and someone (who at the time was, I thought, my best-friend) began gossiping behind my back and putting me and my writing down – we are no longer friends, and I have not published or submitted to a magazine/newspaper since). I know. I can’t let someone else’s insecurity and envy affect my goals/writing, which is why I’m Na-No-ing it this month with plans to release a batch of new queries in January. πŸ™‚

    1. Sadly, that’s not an unreasonable fear. Not all spouses are understanding about the time commitment writing requires, and some are threatened by a spouse’s success. I applaud your effort to persevere in spite of the fear. πŸ™‚

    1. Oops. Um, why nothing. Nothing at all. Sweden will LOVE my book. *grin*

      And UGH about your poor kitty. Why do cats insist on doing that sort of thing? Hopefully it will all…er, come out all right in the end. πŸ˜‰

  12. My biggest fear right now is writer’s block. Or writing so badly an editor takes one look and say she’s hopeless! All the A’s in the world on class papers never eat into the fear my writing sucks more than it really does.

    1. That, I’m afraid, is something all writers suffer from, no matter what stage of their career. You just have to learn silence your inner critic long enough to get the blasted words on the page. πŸ™‚

  13. Ha! I wouldn’t worry about anyone having nice things to say about your book!

    I have shark fear. Definitely. I blame the movie Jaws for that.

    I have a fear of being too high on a ladder and driving over bridges too. Oh and big spiders too.

  14. I have (or have had) every single fear that you mention. Except the Sweden thing. Although now that I’m thinking about it, I may as well just add that to the list, too. Thanks a lot, Linda.


  15. Crazy thing is, Linda, there is no basis for my concern. DH has withstood much crazier/difficult challenges and exhibits no sign of desiring to depart for greener pastures – but most fears have no foundation in logic – think spiders. They’re astronomically smaller than humans, and in 99.9% of the cases, non-venemous – yet some people scream and jump around like crack-addled apes when they see one. Fear = miniscule potential magnified by irrational bazillions to equal the worst possible outcome imaginable regardless of probability. Which is why it’s a Sneaky Bastard and must be stomped on like a spider the moment it’s recognized – before it has a chance to grow into an eight-legged, wiry-haired, multi-eyed, dual fanged behmoth. πŸ™‚

    1. You’re right about fears…well, phobias, anyway…having no real basis in reality. Except I can’t help but think fearing spiders is simply the prudent thing to do. Because, ick. They’re spiders. *shudders*

  16. No doubt about it, those hot shot NYT best-selling authors will L-O-V-E your book. (So scratch that worry off your list right now, young lady!) Can’t say that I have fears, either sharks or piranhas. Don’t know if it’s Zen, maturity, or if I’m simply too damned tired to worry about anything right now. (Visiting all those grandchildren was great, but it sucked all my energy.)

    1. Let’s call it Zen. It sounds loftier than being too tired to give a damn. *grin*

      Glad you had a good time with your grandchildren! I know it was well worth the ensuing exhaustion. πŸ™‚

    1. LOL! All I can hope is that the Swedes who read my book have a sense of humor as good as the ones I remember from my time in that gorgeous country. Besides, at least one of the Swedes prominently featured in my book is both smart AND sexy. Surely that will make up for some of the…er, more humorous, shall we say?… moments. πŸ˜‰

Comments are closed.