The only thing I fear more than failure is snakes. My ophidiophobia is a topic for another post though. My fear of failure has always impacted my life. Sometimes it has propelled me to literally be the best that I can be (eg: fueled my eleven and twelve hour study days that helped me secure my First Class) but sometimes (most often to be honest) it cripples me. I am so often afraid to try new things or to step out of my element because I am afraid it won’t be perfect or that I’d fail. Then there are times when I am so determined not to fail, I go overboard in an attempt to succeed but end up failing because I put myself and everyone around me under too much pressure (eg: my last relationship). I’ve learned better now. Sometimes you’ve got to fail to learn about the mistakes that you need not make again and sometimes it helps you learn things about yourself that you would not have otherwise learned. I’m not saying that I am now walking around and looking for opportunities to fail so that I can experience some self growth. No! That’s crazy! But, what I am is more open to failing. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to let things work themselves out and sometimes when you try so hard to make things perfect disaster is waiting in the wings.
The thing is, as much as I have already learned, there is so much more that I still have to learn. It manifests itself in my writing. Sometimes I wonder if I really had a plot problem with The Novel or if I just have a Rilzy-shaped problem preventing me from finishing. I’ve decided to spend some more time working on my failure phobia while I work on this new plot. I don’t want to get to 32 000 words again only to be chased off by my insecurities. The biggest thing I will have to work around is knowing when my insecurities are playing a role in my writing slump or when there is really a problem with the plot. I have no idea how long it will take me before making this determination becomes second nature but I will get there eventually.
I regretfully admit that sometimes I get my knickers in a huge twist when I consider writing, I worry that I should just forget about it altogether and focus on Law. In my mind I think, well I’ve already got my LL.B and I’ve done pretty well at it so I should stick with what’s safe. To be honest that’s why I ended up doing a law degree to begin with. It seemed like a safer choice than my second option. I am going to finish this novel no matter what thoughts my insecurities might throw my way. I am determined to fulfill this dream. Watch this space, I will be reporting soon enough that it has happened! :). Dedication and persistence can get you anywhere.
The next place my fear of failure pops up is when I’ve actually completed my first and second drafts and I’ve got myself a novel. What do I do with it then? Three months ago I was very certain that I wanted to join the world of Indie Publishing. The thought of overseeing every aspect of my book absolutely drove me crazy :). I’d sit up at night and think of all the arty persons I knew who could help with the cover, how I was going to raise enough money for an editor and reading up on self-publishing. Then I got to the point where I was over the moon about trying for traditional publishing. I kept reading up on as many literary agents as I could find. I thought of query letters and the thought excited the hell out of me. Then suddenly, I wanted to do neither. I wanted to write the book, edit it as many times as I possibly could before giving it to my closest friends and locking it away. Why? I was scared to death of what people would say. Suppose everyone else hated the book? I mean, like seriously hated… not on the fence sort of hated but seriously, seriously hated the book. I mean one star on Amazon with rally cries of “I want my 99c or 2.99 back”. Whenever I think about that possibility all I want to do is withdraw into my shell and forget about ever showing anyone my work. I figure that this is as lame as the troubles I am having writing to begin with but I will cross that bridge once I get there, I need to finish the novel first. So let’s get down to it.