I’m a successful Author. Eeeek! Or am I?
As an Indie Author I always have a feeling of fear every time I press the publish button. Questions such as, “Is it really a good story? Will my readers understand the deeper nuances of the emotions? Did I successfully portray emotions and sensations? mill through my mind.
Now, it makes me wonder if what I feel is really fear of failure or is it a fear of success? Should I be looking for things to go wrong with the publication rather than be positive of its success? How do I know if it’s a fear of failure or success? That feeling of agitation, the fact that the tiniest detail irritates me and people I depend on make mistakes. How can they not see how important it is for me? How could they have missed that?
It eventually bothers me so much that I find it difficult to concentrate and that’s when I find myself procrastinating over things that I know I need to do to achieve success. I say stupid things, I argue with family and friend and no one understands why I’m such a “crouch.”
So I did some research and guess what, apparently all of these things are classic symptoms of fear of success. It freaked my out, because isn’t that exactly what I’m trying to achieve? I’ve sweated blood to get to this point, gone without sleep, sometimes I forget to eat and all of that because I fear to achieve success? Why would I be sabotaging myself, right?
But according to the powers – or knowledge – that be, success can be downright scary because we live in a success-orientated culture, where failure is not an option. And let’s be honest, all of us see fear as the enemy and as far as we can, we do our best to ignore it and bear ahead. But what we tend to forget is that the fear remains subconscious, which is what led to what I experienced.
Hm, well, goody, now I understand why sometimes I act out, but now what? How do I get myself out of the habit – which I’m sure it’s what it has become – and face those fears? Logic tells me that I need to admit to myself that I am afraid and what it is that I’m afraid of. Ha! Half the battle won. Sure, but unless I find a way of dealing with that fear, it’s not gonna go anywhere.
One of the things that makes me worry, is time, and that I don’t seem to have enough of to give in to the demands of my readers – not that I’m complaining mind you – but as an author I’d love to be able to give as much as I can. So I remember from a conference I attended years ago, that the speaker said that “success is more complex than failure”.
And I believe that on some level he was right. It’s human nature to stay in a situation you’re familiar and comfortable with. I know that’s what I’ve done sometimes, even though it felt as if it’s not really where I wanted to be. So in aiming to achieve success, I had to get out of that happy place, and brave unchartered territory. Eek, something we're all scared of, right? Especially right in the beginning when I began writing. Just the thought of putting myself out there, in the eye of the public, scared the hell out of me. Open to be scrutinized and criticized. And yet, knowing that I am exposing myself to new pressures and demands it didn’t damper my enthusiasm. I’ll always remember the devastation and emotional despondency I felt with the very first bad review I received. It devastated me and I immediately started doubting myself. I had to fight that small anxious part that would rather not take the risk and I start thinking – Mew, maybe this is not for me and I should pack it up.
Yeah, I know. It’s human nature to wonder if I was up for all those pressures. I had to decide if I could handle the challenges and take the risk. In all honesty, I had those feeling a few times in the beginning when numerous reviews were very negative and downright rude. But, I decided to bite the bullet and keep going. I aimed to get over that damn mountain if it killed me. And well, guess what, here I am. Still alive and kicking and so glad I didn’t allow those insecurities and fear to guide me.
I learned how to keep going through those tough times and I’m learning that it’s that which is guiding me through the good times. I think that’s where the creative in me kicks in. All it takes is a self-induced kick in the butt, to tell me to believe in myself and not let any fears drown me.
We all want to succeed as authors. I sure as hell do and I believe I am on the way there, but one of my writer friends made me think and it’s true that I, like him, don’t want to lose my artistic integrity. Now let’s face it. As creative people we have a complicated relationship with success. One thing I have learned over time is that no matter what choices I made, in achieving some kind of public success, it’s a sad fact that someone, somewhere will be thinking - and, yes even saying - nasty things about me – whether it’s about my own character, my story characters or story-lines or even the genres I write, to accusations of “selling out.”
But, I know and have accepted I’ll never be able to please everyone. Including myself. Backbiting is part of the price of success and I have accepted it. I might not always have made the right choices, but I am comfortable with the ones I have made. Does that mean I “sold out”? So far, I don’t believe I have.
I am me. I aim to achieve success as an Author by writing the stories that make me feel alive and where I can find an outing for my own emotions and experiences by way of spinning an imaginary tale that hopefully finds an audience that enjoy what I do. So, that is my aim, not to become a spin-off of any other successful author out there, but to achieve a name for myself by doing what I absolutely love.
So there, fear be gone! Success, here I come!