I (erica) tend to think of myself as pretty reasonable human being. I wear my seatbelt and eat healthy foods and go to the dentist. I avoid large snakes, dark alleys, and jumping out of airplanes.

There's one thing that scares me more than anything. It's the completely irrational fear of failure. I've read about some writer's fear of success and how that could hold them back. I'm fine with success - stick me on a couch in front of [insert name of favorite TV host here] any day of the week and I'll get out there and sell my book.

But to not have a book to sell? I'm not putting anyone who self-publishes down here - it's just not for me
 That scares the crap out of me. Many of you know that in my real life, people don't know I write. They don't know about this blog. They think the writing conference I went to last April was a teaching conference and that Christy is a friend of mine from college (yes, we went to the same college. I think even at the same time for a year. no, we did not know each other).

This is how scared I am. That all my work and time and effort and research will accomplish nothing. That I've ignored my kids and my dogs and my husband and my house (yes, my kids and husband know that I write. trust me, this makes me very nervous). And that other people will witness my failure - and maybe even expect it. It's crippling me and I've all but shut-down. It's been weeks since I've written anything productive (I have done some revising, but nothing totally new). Days and days go by without me even opening my documents. Which makes me feel like an even worse failure - like I can't even look my characters in the eyes these days.

Have any of you read The Success Principles by Jack Canfield? I bought it several years ago when my life wasn't going in a way I was expecting and I felt overwhelmed. It really helped and I need to get it out again (well, buy a new copy, since I gave mine away).

Basically, the book told me to stop being afraid and make my life go the way it should go. I'm not afraid of whether or not I have the talent to write a book - I know I do. Now I just have to be strong enough to make it happen. And if for some reason it never does, I have to remember that writing and becoming published doesn't define my life - it just makes it better.

How do you feel about the fear of success vs. the fear of failure (or do you scoff at both?). And thanks for listening - maybe now I'll be able to get past this. (after all, they say confession is good for the soul) (click here for another post about writer's whining)

Happy Father's Day all you Dads out there!!


  1. Afraid to succeed? I've never heard of this bizarre state of mind. ;) Seriously though, I haven't. As for fear of failure, yes definitely. As I watch a traditionally published friend of mine struggle to sell enough books for her publisher to pick up her third, and have seen another traditionally published friend fail to sell a fourth novel to publishers though, I know that it happens a lot in traditional publishing too. It's a scary industry. All we can do is try our best and make sure we have good marketing.

  2. I don't tell anyone I write either. I'm still in the writing closet...

  3. I made the mistake of telling many people I was writing. Yeah, I'll leave it at that. You closet people are SMART! Also, I totally get the fear of success. Maybe I shouldn't admit this in writing, BUT the thought of selling a book (or three) is scary because then there could be deadlines and PRESSURE to really perform and then the ANXIETY of reviews and sales and HORRIBLE CRITICISM, like publicly for the world to see. However, future agent, if you are reading this I can totally perform under pressure and have skin thicker than the beard on my cousin-in-law's chin. You want me. You do. :0) christy

  4. Embrace the scariness. Failure is a just a word.
    If I sucketh, I will sucketh profoundly. LOL.

    Yeah, don't quote me on that, but I haven't been feeling very brilliant lately and EVERYONE knows I write. Ugh!

  5. First,

    Congrats on making 300 plus followers! It's fantastic.

    As for your fear, Erica, remember one thing, you are a talented and smart woman. I believe you will succeed in anything you put your mind to. I know what I have learned most of all is timing. Timing is everything. Even the name of my blog reflects that... In Time... all good thing WILL happen.

    Write, Erica. Don't worry or stress about the failure. You have a loving family and that in itself is the MOST important thing in life. YOU will NEVER be a failure because you have a true and sincere heart. Something you should be very proud to behold.

  6. Oh, I know all about it. Right now I'm feeling the fear big time! I just keep telling myself I can do it -- and you can, too!

  7. I just came out of the writing closet and it has led to so many questions like "are you published?" and "do you have an agent?" and the like which has fostered more insecurity (er, no, not yet), but at the same time, as I grow more in the process and realize I am writing for reasons other than "just selling a book," I become more comfortable with fear of failure. Plus, I am modeling that for my kids. Risking failure is the best thing we could teach them.

  8. I definitely have this same fear. I'd love to succeed, no worries there! I've wanted to be a professional writer for so long, that if it ever happens I'm fully prepared for it.

    I too keep my writing very much to myself. It's kind of amusing - my secret life or something. In the last year or so I've opened up about it to my close family and friends, but no one else knows.

    As for the writing block, when I get like this, I just write something completely for fun. Write something you feel excited about, without any thought of editing, or agents or publishing. That brings me back to where I want to be.

  9. I didn't tell people I was writing for about 2 years. And once I started being open about it, I got so much support, from friends and family, and I made new connections. I felt like if I was going to take writing seriously, then everyone should know - I'm a writer.

    Good luck overcoming your fear. Don't worry about all the crap, just write!

  10. I fear writing a novel- does that count?

  11. I started talking about my writing when we meet with my inlaws, but as soon as I started getting the comments like "so are you published yet?" I shut down and seldom talk about my writing anymore. Some people just don't get it. My mom and my hubby are very supportive so that will do it for me in real life.
    I have my online buddies to turn to, when I get "down" moments, my fears and all the like.
    You have US. :D

    I'm a great fan of Jack Canfield's teachings. He is great.


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