Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fear of Success and Self-Sabotage

This is my weekly writing post over at my crit group's blog Sisters in Scribe.

Now that I've moved from writing my first draft to revising it, I'm getting reacquainted with an old friend. You know the one. He reminds you that you really should get on organizing your Netflix queue (there's got to be something in there that would be great for research!) Insists you absolutely cannot do anything else until you remember the name of that book you liked when you were 12 (it's totally something that your MC would've loved too!) Begs you to join him in just a few hours of video games (because you know, teens play them a lot, it's good research!) Hints that the idea you had but didn't write is actually the better one (you don't want to be wasting your precious time on the wrong idea!) Tells you if you don't spend more time on Twitter and Facebook your friends will forget you and then no one will buy your book - wait, your what? Oh right, that thing you were supposed to be working on until your old friend Fear of Success stopped by to distract you with a little Self-Sabotage.

What is Fear of Success? It's that nagging fear that if you actually finish your book, you'll have to send it out and people will want to read it, and they'll expect it to be good! What if you can't live up to that? Plus, think of all the work you'll have to do if an agent likes it or an editor decides to buy it! What if you do everything right, and someone actually agrees to publish it, and then everyone reads it and discovers your secret - that you are a no-talent hack. Or worse, it's a success and now everyone expects you to write another book! And it will have to be great too!

Whoa! Getting a little ahead of yourself aren't you? That's usually where the self-sabotage comes in. We come up with another, better idea and abandon our current project. We take time off for "research" or to get some "perspective". We reward ourselves for 5 minutes of work with 2 days of relaxation. We rationalize.

When you find yourself doing these things, remind yourself that writers write. And every single successful writer has probably dealt with the same thing. Remind yourself that you deserve to have your dreams come true. The quickest way out is always through. Put your butt in that chair and write through the fear. It will look so silly from the other side.

7 comments:

Shannon O'Donnell said...

"Remind yourself that you deserve to have your dreams come true. The quickest way out is always through. Put your butt in that chair and write through the fear. It will look so silly from the other side. "

Those words are priceless. I'm going to post them in front of me at my computer. Thank you! :-)

Elle Strauss said...

I would add, writers can't quit. Believe me I've tried. Yet, here I am, still typing away. I must be a writer!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

So true! Thanks for the motivational talk. Must keep at it and quit making excuses. So to that end, I think I'll stop browsing blogs for today and get back to writing. But so glad I read yours ;)

Book Monster said...

Ahh how I love your posts!!

Michelle Gregory said...

thanks for the reminder.

Kelly said...

I know, writing the first draft is such a dreamy time, and you are filled with conviction that this story is fabulous...and then, after some time and space, that first read comes, and then the revisions start, and you realize, oh my GOD, this is WORK!

Jen said...

I think this is so true "you deserve to have your dreams come true" so instead of psyching yourself out, write. It's what you were born to do anyway, if you wanted to stop the thoughts don't disappear, your hands still want to write it down!

Great blog!

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