Dancing with Fear

Dancing with Fear

Posted by on Jun 9, 2013 in Random, Rant And Ramble, Writing | 15 comments

Coming back from a hiatus of any kind is never easy. My life has kind of been in a whirlwind the past month and some days I’m not even sure which way is up. Now that I’m trying to get back in the groove, I realize just how hard it is. This applies to anything you’re doing. Any time you take a break from something you do every day, it’s difficult to just jump right back into it. Sometimes you need to reincorporate it into your life in small pieces, other times, throwing yourself into the thick of it is the way to go. I’m not sure which way will work best for me right now, so I’m starting off just trying to get back into things slowly. Which is to tell you that this post has very little to do with anything but how I feel right now and what’s going on in my head. There is no other point to this than to take one small step forward.

I wanted to start by getting back into blogging a few times a week, and attending to my social media accounts more often. As well, I wanted to go back and start checking on my books. I have this problem that a lot of artists have, and that’s reading reviews of your work. I try to keep a “never read reviews” attitude, but I have yet to have any success with that. And one of the things that really continues to surprise me is the mixed reactions I’ve received from Release. I know taste is subjective, and so what I love or someone else loves, others may hate, but I guess the reason I feel surprised is because I was really proud of Release. 

The third installment in The Protector was an emotional book for me. And for those of you who have read it, it isn’t just because of one major event that occurs. The whole story means something to me. It means letting go, it means change, it means self-discovery, it means starting over with new ideals and realizations that perhaps you fought with for longer than you should have. Chase has those realizations throughout the book, and he really tries to change. In fact, he changes a lot. He learns, he starts to think before he acts, he overcomes things that he never thought he could. The book was such a hurricane of feelings for me that I was excited and proud to publish it. Yet thus far, it’s the book with the most mixed reactions. Just my e-mail inbox alone can tell me that without ever reading a single review. For those that didn’t like it, it seemed boring, the pacing wasn’t right, or a number of other fairly consistent responses, but when I look back through the story, I just can’t help but feel proud of it. At the time, it was my favorite book in the series, and even still, it’s near the top. Now, Endure has captured that title and means something even more, but each installment in this series has had that effect on me. They’re each special in their own way, and individually they each represent something completely different. I have all four books on my mantle right now and when I see them, I can feel each of those things as my eyes pan from cover to cover. But Release was different. I felt exposed while writing and publishing that book, but I was too proud to feel fear that others wouldn’t feel that too. When you pour yourself so desperately into something, and it isn’t met the way you wanted it to be, it takes the wind out of your sail. Of course, that’s because you let it, but such is the weakness of man. But the point isn’t that I’m sad Release isn’t everyone’s favorite book, the point is that it all happens so fast, and it reminds you just how powerful words can be, and that’s why I write.

To experience things that only my imagination can fabricate is an experience that seems surreal. But to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and take on an adventure that leads to sadness, hardships, victories, and failures, is hard on your system. You don’t just make things up and smile because you think you wrote a good scene. You begin to create something completely different to yourself, and then before you know it you are there. You’re in the thick of it all, feeling the fire burn, tasting the tears as they roll over your cheeks and touch your lips, and you feel proud as an accomplishment is made, or an enemy is defeated. The Protector series was my life for years. Seeing it all come together in the end has left me with a sadness I honestly didn’t expect to feel. When I wrote the words The End, I was happy. Happy to move onto something new, proud of what I had accomplished, and satisfied with the way it all happened. However, now that I’m trying to get back into things, I’m not so happy. I’m still proud of what I accomplished and satisfied with the way it happened, but that story, those people, this journey…it’s gone now. Over. People will love it, people will hate it, some people won’t care either way. But it’s like…in the midst of real life and all that is happening in it, that one thing that was such a part of it is gone now. It’s on the page and no longer inside me. And perhaps I’m taking all that way more personally than I should be. Then again, those books, those imaginary people, that adventure, it changed me. It changed me as a person, it changed what happened in my life, it changed everything—some things for better, others for worse. Depending what day it is and what I’m thinking about, some times I wonder where I’d be had I never wrote a word of it. When you’re at that point in your life that leaves you open and vulnerable to anything, everything seems like a much bigger deal than it is. You know that, and you can’t help but give into it anyways. Sometimes you never realized how much something meant to you until it’s over. Now that The Protector is over, it means something totally different to me than it did. It’s a strange feeling I have yet to deal with.

Now, I read my chapters of The Nova Chronicles and they excite me. They make me fascinated at where these characters might be in two years, but on the other side of the sword is fear. Fear of what I might put those characters through, fear of what I’ll put myself through, fear it will be hated, fear that it will change everything again and I won’t know how—for better or for worse—and fear of fear itself. But here I am, staring at the keyboard and a blank screen that begs me to write. Why? Maybe for love. Love of the written word, love of emotion, love of experience, love of risk, love of reward, love of success.

Love.

This seems as good a place as any to end this post. In the end, love trumps fear. It propels you forward, it gives you the ability to leap obstacles that would crumble the strongest of men. It grants you the strength to destroy that which might destroy you. And it gives you the power to step out of the darkness, even when you’re afraid, and look fear in the eye. Once you’ve done that, you can put up your middle finger, smile, and say “screw you.” Because the only way you can truly lose, is if you let something stop you from trying.

    15 Comments

  1. This has got to be one of the most powerful blog posts I’ve ever read. Matt you are my hero and I am amazed at the passion you put into you work. I can’t imagine how hard it is to write something and be so proud of it, to have poured so much of your soul into it, and have people hate it. You know that until Endure, Release was my favorite.

    I don’t know what happened to take you away from us, and it isn’t any of my business, but I hope things are on the mend, if not all the way better. We all missed you while you were gone, and are happy to have you back, even if only intermittently. 🙂

    • Laura, your words mean so much to me. Truly, thank you! I knew I let you stalk me for a reason 🙂 haha. Just kidding. Seriously though, thank you. It’s good to be back, and I look forward to being back more than intermittently.

  2. It’s always sad and exciting to finish a story you’ve immersed yourself in. You won’t be the only one missing The Protector series, but I can’t wait for what you have to show us next. You’ve accomplished an amazing thing. Keep the passion you’ve shown in this post. =)

    • Thanks, Patricia! I’m very much going to see what I can do 🙂

  3. Matt, it may feel like those books are “gone” from inside you but remember that the best part of it all is that they are now inside so many of our hearts! Those of us who love your books (and there are many) are so happy you shared your ideas and creativity with the world! Thank you for letting go…so that we could grab on to such a wonderful story!!! Glad to have you back!! <3

    • You know, Ana, you’ve worded that in a very inspiring way. What a great way to look at thing! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Wow… thanks for sharing that Matt.

    I’m not surprised that you are sad about saying goodbye to the characters because we’re sorry that Chase’s journey is over as well. I’m still stalling on reading Endure for that very reason. I don’t want it to be over and I know I’m not alone in that sentiment. Your imagination has created a family of characters that a lot of people have grown to love (and sometimes hate) and that in itself is an amazing thing. You should be proud.

    So glad you are back in the thick of things and Laura’s right, we have missed you. I’m also happy to know that you are excited about your next endeavor. That pretty much ensures that we (your readers) are in store for another amazing journey. 😉

    • Thanks, Shirley! It’s awesome to have such an incredible group of people who show me such amazing support. 😀 I can’t wait to take a new adventure with you all.

  5. Hmmm..not sure if I should hug you or kick you in the shin.

    I do know this sadness that you feel. I feel it too when I get done reading a series that I’ve loved. I felt it at the end of Endure. I imagine it’s worse on the author. That may be the only reason you aren’t getting the shin kick. 😉

    The thing that I always do when this happens is start something new to read. I know that’s your plan as well. I’m super excited about Nova and I know you have felt that in the past. I remember you fighting writing it before Endure so I know that excitement is there for you. Things have been strange for you lately but you will get it together OR you will have an angry teacher beating down your door with a ruler in hand. Write, damnit! That’s what you do. You are a writer! Now do it before I have to come make you! (Yes that was my teacher voice – did you hear it all the way in Canada?)

    You know I love ya, Matt. It’s all good. It’s just nice to think about you being back in the game. You have been missed.

    Oh and btw, Endure is soooooo good! It made it easier to end the series with Endure because I enjoyed it so much.

    • Haha. I can always count on the teacher voice! I heard it all the way up here, even through the crazy winds we’re having that nearly blow me over! I shall not let you attack me with a ruler, I will get to it one of these days! hahaha.

  6. Wow… I think Ana summed it up pretty darn well.

    I think it’s a natural human reaction to have self doubts. There will always be people who don’t appreciate or enjoy your writing, as there is for every author. It’s their loss, not yours! Please don’t doubt your ability to write, and don’t doubt the number of us out there who love your writing! There are five of us on this page alone, and between us I’m sure we’ve read a few thousand books, so we know what we’re talking about. Surely that’s enough people to keep you writing? 😉

    Thank you for the sacrifices you and your family make so that you can share your stories with us. I appreciate it a great deal, and I am super excited to see your next project. If you are ever in the need for some encouragement — or a kick in the shin — you know who to ask 🙂

    • Thanks Kristy! You’ve been so amazing and supportive since we first met. Thank you for being such a great friend and reader!

  7. if there is no problem asking this here…
    any idea when the paperback version of Endure will be available on Amazon store???
    old reader here, read for me must be on paper.

    • Hey Evandro! I’m hoping it’ll be available next week. After checking out the proof, the cover just needed some tweaks, so once I have those back from my cover artist, it’ll be live and ready to go!

  8. thanks for the answer.

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