Fear of Failure
Chocolate from John Loo
Fear just loves to block our creativity and word flow. It feeds off our negativity and gets stronger as our resolve to succeed gets weaker.
When we first start writing, we constantly compare ourselves to other authors. We devour their books and stand in awe at their mastery of words. We read of the success of others in writing magazines and on the web, and believe we’ll never reach their level. the more we disbelieve in ourselves, the more powerful fear becomes.
When we receive rejection after rejection following our submissions packages, it only goes to confirm that our writing isn’t good enough. Never mind the variables such as the agent has already got another very similar story, the agent has reached their quota, or simply the agent wasn’t interested out of personal taste. Rejection does not necessarily mean we can’t write, but fear doesn’t know that.
When we finally achieve publication – and we will if we persevere – we continue to let fear exploit our weakness and run our belief and creativity into the ground. We continue to read other novels and believe them far superior to our own. But perhaps we need to feel that on a certain level so we don’t stop striving to make each novel better than the one before.
Is there way to stop fear eating away at us until our self-esteem looks like a moth-eaten cashmere jumper? Well maybe there are several ways, and we all have to find our own salvation. Some people swear by relaxation or Reiki; some people write a list of their positive attributes as a writer, and some people use positive thinking and visualisation. Some of you may feel these methods are too airy fairy, but you know, whatever way you find, if it helps keep fear down to the size of a grape instead of a watermelon, then go for it.
Talking to other authors in a similar position to oneself can also liberate our creativity, or at least make us realise that no matter where we are in the writing world, everybody experiences a fear of failure.
Let’s not let it hold us back, let’s face it and poke our tongue out at it. We’re not infants at our first day of primary school, we have experience, courage, hope and the ability to overcome the niggles that fear throws before us. Inhale deeply and start believing. And if all fails – eat some chocolate!
Happy Word Flow One & All