Originally posted on August 25, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Just for funsies, I recently took this quiz, “Where Are You On The Road to Publication?” by Randy Ingermanson. You answer some questions and then he gives you a grade: freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior. I got 27 out of 50 points, which puts me as a lower-level junior. I have to be honest: this result really surprised me. I thought for sure I would be a senior.

I went back and looked at my answers and his suggestions to raise your score for each one. Basically, the only questions that put me below “senior” involved going to conferences. I’ve never been to a writers’ conference before, so that pulled down my score. I’m too scared. I have social anxiety.

Laurell K. Hamilton recently blogged about a Wiccan holiday she’s celebrating right now called “Lammas” (not to be confused with Llamas). The part that is relevant to what I’m going to talk about is this: “Lammas is also a celebration of […] the male principle that must be harvested/die so that food can be eaten and seeds saved for next year’s harvest. […] This year, we’re thinking what parts of our personality, habits, job, relationships, need to die because they are no longer growing.”

Essentially, Ms. Hamilton has let go of her fear—or rather, let go of letting that fear limit her. She in particular has a phobia of flying, and although that’s still true, she no longer makes decisions based on that fear. You can read the full blog here.

That struck a chord with me. It was a bit of synchronicity that I read this blog shortly after taking that quiz. I realized that she was right. Sometimes we have things in our life that we don’t need. Things that actually hurt us, keep us from sprouting new seeds. My fear of social confrontation is one of those things. But Lammas isn’t like Lent; you don’t give something up for a month and come back to it. You have to be willing to throw it away. Give it up forever. That’s a big commitment, and I felt pretty serious about it. I didn’t jump in. I thought about it for several days. Really, truly, am I willing to give up my fear? Or rather, am I willing to stop allowing my fear to make decisions that affect my career?

Yes. Yes, I am. You’ll be happy to hear that I am now officially registered for the DFW Writers’ Conference coming up in February. And it doesn’t stop there. I’m following a few agents I would love to speak to, and if they announce their attendance at any conferences reasonably near here, I’ll try hard to go to them.

To quote Laurell once again, “So, happy Lammas. What part of yourself is limiting you right now? Are you ready to let it go?”

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