Renee Writes

Fear of Success

When I’m being honest with myself, I can admit that my biggest obstacle to my succeeding as an author has been my fear of success. Of course, normally I’m content to blame it on things like writer’s block or the fact that I’m such a perfectionist. I’m trying to be honest here, though.

So a fear of success…yes, it’s possible!

Any time I start seeing anything that resembles a step toward succeeding as an author, I freeze up. The hardest part has been trying to figure out why I do this. I certainly don’t fear having money. I don’t have any aspirations of becoming a millionaire,  but I certainly wouldnt baulk at the prospect.  So far I’ve been able to narrow it down to two things.

The first is that I am not generally a very social person. Most times I’m not sure of what to say or how I should behave. I’ve been socially awkward for as long as I can remember.  The idea of having fans and socializing with them is scary for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love meeting new people,  but I always worry that I’ll do or say the wrong thing. You can probably imagine from this admission how doing a public reading or book signing might be seem to be a horrifying prospect for me.

Of course, I don’t want to appear as being standoffish or stuck up either.

Then there is the expectation factor. Will people startexpecting things from me that I can’t deliver? Will I be able to live up to writing deadlines?

Or how about this! In the midst of my success, will I be able to stick to my own values in the face of those who think they know better than me simply because they’ve worked in the industry longer?

Wait! Did I just bring up a third issue?

The reason I bring this all up is with the release of the first episode of Shadow Stalker on the horizon, I can feel all those fears stirring once again. I am hoping by voicing them publicly,  I won’t give in to them yet again.

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  1. 8 August, 2014    

    Maybe you can get over your fear of success if you stop thinking what others think of you. As long as you are happy with what you have achieved, don’t bother yourself with other people’s opinions or expectations of you. Refuse to be a puppet of others who would dangle you whichever way they wish with their whim and personal agenda. You cannot control what others think of you, BUT you can control your reactions to them. Be empowered with positive comments and learn your lesson from negative feedbacks. My advice: Be free and you will be happy!

    • 9 August, 2014    

      Thanks Augusto. I hadn’t really considered that I was worried about what other people think, but it’s something I should take a look at. I agree it shouldn’t matter what others think of me.

  2. Bobbie Bobbie
    8 August, 2014    

    I do understand what you are saying. I feel the same way sometimes. I wonder if we just don’t think we are deserving of success; that we will never be good enough. It’s not an excuse, it’s just something we have to conquer.

    • 8 August, 2014    

      Hi Bobbie,

      I know the feeling of not deserving success is a big problem for many people. I feel everyone who is willing to work for it deserves it. I’m relieved that I can say that I’ve never felt undeserving, and I hope those who do can find their way beyond those feelings. The only people who don’t deserve it are the ones (at least in my opinion) who just sit around waiting for things to happen and then complain when they don’t?

      • 10 August, 2014    

        Hi Bobby,

        I added you to the list using the email address you provided in your comment when you submitted it. If you want to use a different email address just send me an email at the address in this post. 🙂

  3. Seth C. Seth C.
    8 August, 2014    

    I thank you for bringing up this subject that has become very personal to me. It really seems that the whole “fear of success” thing is so much b.s., at first, but then when the prospect of success actually starts to become a reality, your perspective changes. When things are starting to go well with my literary endeavors, I actually find myself on edge and even doing things that could sabotage everything I’ve worked for. Strong, negative emotions well up.

    Is this fear of success, or the feeling that I’m not really worthy of success, or some perverse combination? Or maybe I feel, deep down, that writing is not “real work.” I come from a very blue-collar background and have done a lot of physically demanding work… and in switching over to actually making a living doing something creative, I dig up ingrained feelings about work, and old Voices From The Past haunt me with their contempt: “Must be nice to get paid for just sitting around on your ass writing stories.”

    How to deal with these blockages? Become aware of them, I think. Let them continue to rise to consciousness where I can look upon them. They only hold sway over me when they are buried in my subconscious where they act as part of my operating system without my awareness. So let them come forth, let them speak, air them out, thank them for their service, and let them go.

    You talked about the social fears you have, interacting with fans and such. And about wondering if, in the midst of success, you might betray your core values. While these are valid concerns, I would like to encourage you to look deeper to see if there is some underlying fear hiding beneath them. This sort of searching has helped me to become more aware of my own subconscious processes.

    Again, thank you for broaching this topic, and I wish you great and wonderful success.

    • 8 August, 2014    

      Thanks. I have been looking deeper into this fear in the course of the year. I made a promise to myself at the start of the year that I wouldn’t let my fears get in the way of my accomplishments anymore. It’s been more than ten years now, but I did at one time have a lot of readers who followed my work. I am still in contact with a few, but I had an incident happen (related to my fears) and I walked away from writing for a time. So now I’m sorta starting from scratch again, in a very literal sense because not only am I starting over with building a platform, I have also lost all of the work I have done previously as well. Getting a fresh start isn’t a bad thing. I just don’t want to build something and risk losing it again over a fear.

  4. 7 August, 2014    

    What an interesting little cameo. I don’t think you should worry too much. Fame as an author is less likely than a million pond lottery win so I’d worry about how you’re going to spend the lottery money rather than fretting about being the next JK Rowling. Just dream the dream and enjoy writing.

    Good luck with Shadow Stalker.

    • 8 August, 2014    

      I get this a lot. Believe it or not I’m not worried about being famous. I’m worried about the social aspects of being a writer. Even if I only had 100 fans, that’s 100 people I would need to socialize with and show my appreciation to for supporting me. I’m not going to be one of those authors who hides in the woodwork. I want to interact with my readers, but my fear is that because of my social awkwardness, I won’t know what to do or say, or I’ll do or say the wrong thing. I guess my point is…you don’t have to be famous to be popular with your readers.

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