Then I woke up on Sunday. Instead of writing, I did the dishes.
I have two capable minions (children) who have very little responsibility except to complete the few chores I give them, study, and get along without screaming (hmm, the last one is harder to manage). They could have done it.
I told myself I was being nice.
That's not true. I was sabotaging myself. I could have asked my children to do the dishes, and I could have sat down and worked on my revisions, but I did not.
Think about the times you took a class, saw a speaker, or went to a workshop or conference that motivated and inspired you. What did you do the next day?
Did you sabotage yourself? It's easy to spot, you have a few moments to write, but instead you do ANYTHING else but write. You do chores you could put off another day, or give to someone else .
Take a look at the list below. See if you did any of these things, or even thought about it:
- Organize the junk drawer
- Tackled that soap scum on the bathroom walls
- Called someone you haven't spoken with in a month, or heck, just saw yesterday.
- Picked up that book you are dying to read--or worse the one you put down three weeks ago.
- You find watching grass grow absorbing
- You follow all 250 twitters you belong to.
- Find you need to update that face book page, each minute for an hour.
- Then, you find your email, oh look, its that chain letter Aunt Maude sent, the one saying you must send to twelve others or the world will end and its up to you to stop it! And now you want to save the world.
- Yesterday there was not a movie you wanted to see, and now you have to go see all of them!
- Flipping through channels becomes something you desperately want to do.
- You fold laundry
- Think about going into the day job instead.
- Do your nails (and you did them only a day ago)
- OTHER: (Put your activity here)
Does this sound familiar? Than by stars, you are sabotaging yourself.
There are only two fears a writer has, both shape us in ways that define how we write:
- Fear of Failure
- Fear of Success
Fear of Failure: No one likes to be rejected, or told our lovely story is awful. But as a writer we know that WE have to face this. J.K. Rowling had dozens of rejections. Still she pressed on.
Still, getting that nasty critique from your contest entry can paralyze you. You start thinking, WHY do I do this to myself? Why not give up?
You can stop if you want, but do you really, really want to live your life with the "What if?"
Fear of Sucess: This is far more nebulous. Here, you drag your feet querying, or submitting. You are not afraid of the rejection. You fear the success. Questions you ask yourself: What if I only have one story in me? What if I can't make the deadline? How do I work my life around it? What if they like it?
This to me, is far more insiduous. This is one we don't voice, even though we quickly admit our fear of failure.
Problem is, you won't be able to answer those questions if you don't step forward and take the chance. Look around, there are successful authors working hard on a wing a prayer.
It's not easy, but it can be done.
Do you want to never have these questions to face? Instead only having the "what if?"
Success is not about ignoring fear, but facing it again and again.
There is a choice to make, do you want to constantly undermine your cause (writing)? Or do you want to face it head on?
I know my answer. What is yours?