I’m asked, every once in a while, if I’m afraid of success.
Usually, this comes up when I talk about being in the middle of the most vicious writer’s block I’ve ever experienced, or when I talk about how I’ve had ample time to complete the edits on my manuscript draft but just … don’t work on it for some reason. Sometimes, when these topics come up, someone will ask if I’m afraid of success.
Everyone has some fear of rejection. Usually it’s mild and gets us beyond that hump when it first happens. Other times it’s flat nasty and paralyzes us cold. Either way, most folks accept to varying degrees the idea of fear of rejection. It makes sense. No one likes to hear they’re not wanted in whatever capacity. Heck, I just hit a wall and slid down in a greasy pus-like ooze over my last rejection – a job interview.
Still, the question of whether I’m afraid of success is a tough one. Yesterday’s post talked about how I won’t settle for anything less than mega-success where publishing is concerned. Everything else will allow me to say I at least tried, but it probably won’t give me the joy and happiness of the super-ride. (I can’t say for sure though, ‘cause … y’know. I haven’t tried or anything. For all I know, I’ll be bouncing off the ceiling.)
But not having tried yet, I can’t say for sure if I’m afraid of success. It’s not something I have to worry about right now. I’m many things, but “successful” isn’t one of them. And since I can’t focus on things which aren’t immediate needs for more than a few minutes right now, I can’t speak with certainty on desires.
I’d love to be successful, but that’s not to say I’m not afraid of it. A lot of people love to skydive but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to scream in flat abject all the way to the ground if (I say “when”) something goes wrong. They like the thrill; not so much the consequences. Since I don’t know the consequences of what I’m going after, it’s entirely possible I’m doing all I can to procrastinate on making the necessary steps because I can’t stomach the idea of being successful.
In truth, the odds of out-of-the-gate success are really poor in this, my chosen love. Almost no one has immediate success. Those that do are rare, exceptions, and for the vast majority of people the vast majority of the time, there isn’t a doggone reason to worry.
Still, it’s an interesting idea, and something I don’t know how to explore without … well, you know. Without flat out trying.
What about you? Some of you, my fellow writers, have taken more of the steps than I, and have experienced levels of success and/or failure I haven’t breached yet. I can’t speak to what fear of success or fear of failure looks like, smells like, tastes like, feels like … but you can. How did you know which it was? Was it either? Or did you just not think about that, like the person strapped to a tablecloth jumping out of a perfectly functional plane at 10,000 feet?
Ideas are all welcome. I’m curious beyond reckoning.
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