By Jennifer Blanchard
The Things Procrastinators Fear post from last week discussed the 4 main things procrastinating writers fear:
- not being good enough
So why do people fear success?
“Many people fear success because it tests their limits and makes them vulnerable to new situations,” says Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, in the article How Fear of Success Works. “Even worse, success can easily expose weaknesses and force people to deal with their flaws.”
Another major problem is the fact that success equals change.
“It [success] can be intimidating and hard to handle,” she says. “With success comes challenges and responsibilities–and that can be threatening.”
Other times, people fear success because they don’t want the recognition or honor. (This falls along the lines of people who don’t like receiving compliments. They are fearful of acknowledging they have good in them or that they look nice or that they did a great job because they often don’t feel that way about themselves.)
This is the same with writers. Writers often fear success because the think they might not be able to sustain the success or that they don’t want the recognition or spotlight that comes with being a successful writer.
Here are signs you fear success:
- You procrastinate–You want to write, but you’re too busy. Or too tired. Or have too much work to do. Or need to make dinner. Or will write in five minutes when your favorite TV show is over. No matter how much you want to write, you just can’t seem to sit down and do it.
- You have a negative outlook on your writing–Always talking badly about yourself regarding your writing (this sounds something like, “Why should I write? No one will ever publish it,” or “Writing is a waste of my time because there’s too much competition”). You don’t believe in yourself or your writing dreams. You don’t think you can do it.
- You talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk–You’re always talking about your writing dreams and how you want to be a writer for a living. You tell people about all the stories you want to write, all the ideas for novels you have written in your notebook. But then you never write. You do everything BUT write.
If you see these signs in yourself, you may have a fear of success. For more information or to see other examples of what fear of success looks like, read:
- Fear of Success: What will happen if you succeed? by Steve Pavlina
- Handling Fear of Success, from LiveStrong.com.
Success can be overwhelming. It can cause things to change. But it can also be fun and joyful and your dreams coming true.
Remember what FEAR stands for–False Expectations Appearing Real. Writers fear success because it’s unknown. There’s no way to plan for it; no way to predict it; no way to know how things will end up.
That’s the beauty in it though.
When you learn to release the grasp that fear has on you and actually sit down and get some writing done, you’ll start to realize that being successful doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can be pretty awesome.
- Believe in yourself and your writing. No matter what. Try coming up with a mantra or affirmation about your writing that you can say to yourself whenever you need a confidence boost. For example, an affirmation could be, “I am a great writer,” or “I am a successful writer.”
- Know that you can continue to learn anything you need to know to keep being a successful writer. Education isn’t going anywhere. There will always be colleges, online courses, writing teachers, information websites and blogs dedicated to helping you stay current in the world of writing.