Posted On January 27, 2017 by Print This Post

How to Cope with Anxiety and Overwhelm using Fractals by Nina Harrington

Betcha thought we’d lost our marbles. Fractals? Romance writing? Carrie, you’ve gone over the deep end! Hang on, before you send me to the rubber room read Nina Harrington‘s post first!

Imagine that you are building up the courage to submit your romance novel to a literary agent.

This is your first full length novel and until now the only people to have read it are your two pals who agreed to be beta-readers.

Suddenly the whole submission process spins into overwhelm and takes over your life.

You had no idea that you would feel physically sick with emotional turmoil at the thought that someone else is going to judge this book you have slaved over and cared about for years.

What if it is rejected? What if they ask for a full manuscript? And how long will you have to wait for a reply?

This is driving you crazy! Submitting this book has been on your New Year resolution list for two years running. You have rewritten the text through two NaNoWriMo sessions, edited the third draft and incorporated the feedback from all of your pals.

The manuscript is as good as it can be. In fact you are sick of looking at it.

Worse. You know that the longer you delay, the greater the chance that the market will have moved on. Your paranormal space romance was hot news two years ago and it can take up to 18 months for publishers to release a hardback print run. That’s a geological era in the book world of today.

It is decision time.

#1. Send the submission to the literary agent today, or

#2. Forget about the whole thing and let all of that work and an amazing story stay locked inside your computer or stuffed into a box file.

How to get over the Psychological barrier of Emotional Overwhelm.

Like it or not, we invest a lot of our self-worth into every book. When someone gives us a bad review or rejects our work, it chips away at our self-esteem and knocks our confidence.

Procrastination is one way of protecting ourselves from that pain.

Here is a psychological trick which releases the stress from the situation and turns it into a learning experience.

Imagine that you were telling a friend how to submit to a literary agent and showing them what to do as a demonstration.

Ask yourself a series of questions.

Question #1. If I was going to write a submission letter to an agent, where would I start?  What would be the first thing that I would do?

Answer #1.  Oh, I would check the submission guidelines on their website and make sure that I understand what I have to do to submit the proposal for my book.  It only takes a few minutes and we could do it now.

Question#2.  Just as an experiment, what is the next thing I would have to do?  Answer#2.  I would definitely check that I have the correct name and address of the agent that I have been researching for my book.  She is a perfect fit and I would love to have her represent my work.  The contact details are on the website.

Question#3.  Okay, now I have the submission guidelines and the details about the agent, what is the next thing I should do with my manuscript?

Answer#3. Well I would work on a great pitch letter. I even created a draft layout of everything I would write.

Question#4.  How can I summarise my book in one paragraph?  Have you any tips for a great first line?

Answer#4.  I worked on my letter last month when I was thinking of self-publishing. It’s already written and I can show it to you if you like.

You can see where this is going.

Breaking the traumatic big scary task down into tiny steps takes the emotional drama out of the action and you feel a sense of achievement when you complete each step.

Each tiny step acts as a fractal that will combines with the others to create a complete whole.

The amazing thing is, once you get started, your whole perception of the task and what you are capable of achieving, will be transformed.

Long term goals are like high mountains – huge intimidating structures in the distance, which you can only stare at in terrified awe. Breaking the task into mini-tasks and then fractals makes that end result feel solid and achievable!

Imagine how you will feel when you press the send button on the email and your manuscript has been submitted to the literary agent?  Or you pop the padded envelope into the post box?

You don’t have to wait to create your success – you are making the future happen today.


Are you a procrastinator? Tell us some of the things you’ve put off…and off….and off…..

Join us on Monday for Kristan Higgins!! woot!


Bio: Nina Harrington is a writer, speaker, blogger and an award-winning romance author.
Nina is also the founder of The Prolific Author which specializes in non-fiction books and training courses for creative entrepreneurs who want to learn more about story craft, publishing, and the entrepreneur mindset. Her specialist interest is in self-development, motivation, procrastination and productivity.
You can find out more at

Free Video Training for Authors: How to Outline Your Romance Novel When You Are an Intuitive Writer.

This is the exact story development system that I used to write 19 contemporary romance novels which have sold more than 1.4 million copies worldwide in 23 languages.

This 3-Part video series is completely free when you join my mailing list.

To find out more and listen to my northern accent click: HERE.


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4 Responses to “How to Cope with Anxiety and Overwhelm using Fractals by Nina Harrington”

  1. Thank you so much for inviting me to post an article, Carrie. I really enjoyed working on this topic which so many romance authors struggle with.

    Posted by Nina | January 27, 2017, 8:54 am
  2. Morning Nina!

    Thanks so much for your article, I feel it was written for me! Some years ago I was doing well with writing, then got a revise and resubmit. And panicked. I couldn’t go past the point to actually turn it in again. Definitely a state of overwhelm. =)

    One piece of the fractal at a time certainly breaks it into more achievable steps.

    Thanks Nina!!


    Posted by Carrie Peters | January 27, 2017, 10:04 am


  1. […] This post originally appeared at RomanceUniversity in January 2017. Image credit: Barbara Lane at […]

  2. […] Nina Harrington  –  How to Cope with Anxiety and Overwhelm Using Fractals […]

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