Laughing at Fear (of Success)
Happy Halloween, BtO readers!
In honor of the day, I thought I'd spend a few moments reflecting on the fears that sometimes block our path. Not so much the legimate fears of the scary monsters of the writing business -- tough deadlines, fickle markets, and the ever-popular rejection -- but the subtle terrors that can take up residence in our subconscious and cause us to defeat ourselves.
I'm talking in particular about fear of success.
By it's very nature, Big Success is scary. It puts a writer out there in uncharted waters. It makes her visible in a way that modest, middle-of-the-pack achievement never can. It pushes her out of the safety of her current peer group and creates a profound shift in the way she will be viewed by friends and family.
It tempts the gods to smite us (you've read your mythology, right?) and inspires our internal editor (vicious harpies though they are) to shriek, "Who do you think you are?"
It also comes with larger risks, because no one makes as loud a belly flop as the highest divers when they enter the water at the wrong angle. And Big Success can't be achieved in the service of the status quo, can't be found in safety.
So just for today, try and root out any fear of success rooted in your psyche. Dress it up it a silly costume (like one of those so many insists on humiliating their poor pets with), and look at it for what it is. Then have yourself a good laugh, roll your eyes, and get yourself back to the kind of risk taking that this life (and sometimes Big Success) are all about.
In other words, get out of your own way and trust that this business will offer impediments enough.