I have been working on The Shape that Breaks for almost four years and the reason I have yet to try to polish it off for publishing or actually finish the goddamn second draft - I'm scared. I love the story so much that I want to do it justice and, at the same time, I'm afraid it isn't going to be good enough. I'm afraid that it is stupid and no one will understand the characters or the fact that two teenage boys move in across the street from Celeste and she magically falls in love with them - I'm so scared no one will get it. No one will get them, these characters closest to my heart. TSTB was the first novel I actually finished. I'm not good with endings, and I ended it.
The thing is, though - fear of failing, fear of not being good enough - they don't matter if you don't try. JK Rowling said that the only reason she ever succeeded is because she got good at failing. I've never failed at anything writing related, aside from not winning a few contests. I've always been praised, especially in high school, probably because I was one of the only people who'd been practicing it since they were tiny. I'm bad at taking criticism, even in real life, and I always want it on my writing, but at the same time, I'm afraid.
So I don't finish things. They just sit there and rot because if they aren't done, they can't fail. There's still potential. But honestly? You might not be able to fail if you don't try, but you also won't be able to succeed.
We're all scared. The difference between me and those people who are out there, getting agents and getting published? It isn't fear. It's bravery.
We can all be brave.