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What Did You Do Today that Scares You?

Posted By Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, August 1, 2017


“What did you do today that scares you?” That’s always a good question to consider, especially if you tend to be shy, controlling of your environment, and a planner! (insert photo of me). Even if you’re outgoing, it’s wise to use a bit of caution in life. Yet, the times I’ve pushed myself to do something new, even when it made me very uncomfortable and vulnerable-feeling, are the times where I stretch and grow.

Most writers don’t write to read their work in front of audiences. Few are the authors I’ve seen reading before audiences who seemed completely at ease. Witnessing their discomfort, though, makes me appreciate their bravery all the more. They’re doing the thing that scares them for the sake of their art, their readers, and the bookstores who host them. And in most cases, they do splendid jobs presenting, all the more wonderful because of their authenticity.

What else is scary for a writer? Oh, I’m sure I could name many things, but let’s put joining a writers group and submitting work for critique right up there on the “most scary” list. This act requires homework first, in that you need to make sure your writers group critiques well and in a supportive fashion, but once you know you’re among good people, being receptive to criticism about work you’ve labored over takes inner strength and an open mind. The benefits of submission are invaluable, as other writers will see the areas where you could improve, deepen, or take out, and your work will become that much better.

Want to go a step further? Go to workshops specific to your genre, run by professional writers. In Asheville, Flat Iron Writers Room offers workshops on every writing subject under the sun, and also hosts retreats, places to come write with other writers, and readings by writers traveling through. Friends who have published multiple books tell me that these workshops help them further improve their craft and feel invigorated. If you don’t have something like this in your town, approach your local independent bookseller. They may assist in setting up connections, or work with you to create opportunities in their event planning for writers workshops.

Continue on the brave path and schedule writing time into your calendar, as you would doctor’s appointments and oil changes. End the habit of putting your art second or third or last in your list of priorities. I’m reminded of the quote, “Stop thinking about what could go wrong and start thinking about what could go right.” A quote for over the desk!

Looking for some inspiration? Check out SIBA’s amazing site Authors 'Round the South. You’ll find so much there, but especially under “Southern Literary Events and News,” which features  authors talking about their work and their favorite indie bookstores, a necessary and beloved partner for success.

Below are some other links I’ve found inspiring lately. Enjoy, and feel free to share your stories with me. I’d love to hear from you.’s-1-indie-next-list-pick-36408

Yours in books!


Tags:  ARTS  Author Liaison  Linda-Marie Barrett  Rep on the Road  SIBA  TRIO 

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