Saturday, March 13, 2010


There is a lot of fear when it comes to writing.

Fear of beginning--what if you can't finish? Fear of finishing--what if it isn't good enough? Fear of feedback--what if he/she/they hate it? Fear of querying. Fear of meeting new people--at conferences, in critique groups. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of bad reviews. Fear of not being able to do it all again in book two, book, three, book four. Fear of not being able to revise. Fear of not being able to revise well enough. Fear of rejection. Fear of rejection. Fear of rejection.

Which all adds up to something simple:

Fear of failure.

But there is another fear that is often overlooked.

Fear of success.

It easy to dismiss this fear. It's like a skinny girl who orders a salad--she already has a killer bod, why does she need to eat healthy, too?

But there's safety in failure. We forget that often. If we fail, we still have the chance to blame someone else. You can blame failure on anything and everything. Your book isn't good because you didn't have time. Your critique partner was bad. The publishing world is against you. You can still blame them, still walk out of the ring with your head held at least somewhat high. But success takes away the safety of failure. Success takes away the illusion that your work is anything but your work. Success strips away the armor and leaves you in the ring alone.

Ultimately, behind every single success story is a person. A naked, scared person without a stitch of armor on.

Stephanie Perkins shared this link of a TED speech by Elizabeth Gilbert that I found particularly insightful. It is totally, totally worth seeing, if you've not already. And if you have? Olay!

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