Peggy Bechko’s World: Writers, are You Fearing Success?

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by Peggy Bechko

Fearing success?

Of course you’d say no!

But…

It’s a plague for writers – that little voice inside that maybe tells you you just aren’t good enough.

That when you are put under the microscope and really examined they’ll find you and your work greatly lacking. Or maybe you’ve gotten a lot of rejections already. Or maybe your friends and/or family think you’re crazy for pursuing the writing life.

However you got there, there’s that nagging fear of actually finding success and being closely examined because of it. So, what do you do?

You dive in and end up sabotaging yourself. Maybe you miss appointments or deadlines. Maybe you flake out altogether and draw down the wrath of the one who could well be poised to propel you forward.

And there’s that dark fear that IF you are successful, they’ll EXPECT things from you! BIG things!

And after all that you conjure up all kinds of reasons as to why you failed and why you’re going to fail again. So, in a dark vortex you end up being afraid of the next failure and of the possibility of success. It gets so bad you’re afraid to even try.

I suspect almost every writer, and artist for that matter, knows the paralyzing fear that goes along with the deep-seated fear of being a ‘loser’.

I mean what if you really, really try and don’t succeed? Better not to try – or to set up pitfalls for yourself that make reaching that success nearly impossible, then saying, “well, I knew it would happen.”

Just look at the screenwriting industry. They accept what, maybe 2% of scripts offered up? And a good percentage of THAT  is from already established writers. Seriously. It’s the industry’s fault, right?

Um, no. Here’s a quote I love: “If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

Do you really want to end up being your own worst enemy, your own worst stumbling block when it comes to getting past the gatekeepers to get that script produced or that novel sold?

I didn’t think so.

My advice? Disassociate from failure. Think of it more like “I didn’t succeed this time, but I learned a lot.”

Let go of your inhibitions. Consider yourself one of your own fictional characters and think of all the roadblocks you throw up for them. What would you do to help this protagonist (you) reach the success everybody is rooting for you to achieve?

If they can do it, so can you…because this protagonist is you. Be aware of the internal conflict, the blasts from the past that might be inhibiting the success you’re looking for. Use your awareness as a time for self-analysis.

And change.

Change is hard for most people. But if you can get your characters to evolve and change then I have no doubt you can do it for yourself. Remember, you’re not the only human being to feel that way. Every one of us is afraid at times and reluctant to make ourselves vulnerable.

I’m no professional in the psych department but here’s a way of looking at it you the storyteller:

“I can.

“I will.

“End of story. ”

Be fearless. Go out there and grab that success you’re longing for.

You will have earned it.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. blog. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.