By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine
I was watching a TV drama which included a story line about a young writer’s struggles. She was dealing with all the usual things writers deal with. She was procrastinating and had failed to meet several deadlines. She was dealing with intimidation from other writers in her group and felt inferior due to one successful writer’s comments. All the drama in her personal life continued to interrupt but honestly that was another form of procrastination. Her focus was not what it should be.
In all this she had the encouragement of her friends. Their input was all positive and they brought to light how good a writer they thought she was. At every turn they sent her back into the creative mode she was capable of. In one of her encounters with her friend she shared with them, “I feel I am one page away from complete humiliation or success.” This statement brought light to the real problem which was the fear of failure and/or the fear of success.
The fear of failure is something we all are concerned with. Writing is such a personal thing and being rejected is taken as such. We want others to like our work, understand our story and feel what we do when we write. But the truth is some will not like the genre you are in, some will not like the story or the way you told it and some just won’t get it. But remember why you write. You write because it is in your heart to do so. Acceptance is a benefit.
Fear of success can also be a legitimate fear. Some do not want to be shoved into the limelight of authorship. Some realize if they are successful their comfy life as an unknown author will change. Their anonymity will be lost. There could come pressure to perform again and do so with the success they have exhibited. Some may realize their number one focus of creativity will change to that of the business side of authorship, marketing your works. That side of authorship can rob you of your creativity if you allow it to. Success can turn into another reason to procrastinate.
Fears being what they are I think every author would be happy to know they are “one page away”. The writers I know would rush to the task at hand with great expectations of success. As for our TV drama, the writer listened to the good advice of her friends. She wrote from her heart and did so with great acceptance and success. With success comes the opportunity to continue in your craft with confidence.