Friday, December 10, 2010

The Fear of Failure

My co-worker has a sign in her office that reads "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" Lottery ticket buying aside, that question stuck in my head and something profound occurred to me today.

I am afraid of getting my heart broken again.

That's why I have not been able to write another novel. I have started and stopped several times. I come up with new stories, write a chapter and then stop. And, until now, I haven't understood why. The pain of rejection from the first novel has stolen my courage to get up and really try again because I'm afraid that I'll fail.

And that's just... well, sad. Now that I understand that's what's happening, I can look at it differently. I can take that fear and climb to the top of it, beat it down and conquer it. The fear of failure has kept me from jumping in and you know what?

I want to fall in love again!

I want to fall in love with new characters, overcome new obstacles and make my way to that happily-ever-after ending once more. I want to feel the rush when my characters start talking on their own, taking the story in a direction I hadn't considered, when writing comes to life on the screen.

And it's all there, in my head, just waiting for me to be brave.

*deep breath*

What about you? How do you conquer the fear of failure?


  1. You have not failed. You succeeded in writing a book. You succeeded in creating a wonderful story. Just because your book has not been published does not mean you have failed. Get busy on that second one so when they publish the first and ask for a second you will be way ahead of the game.

    Write for the joy of writing. I, for one, am waiting to read book two!

  2. It's not fear of failure that is making my second novel take so long, but rather my tendency to procrastinate. I feel that we learn so much from writing the first novel that we could turn right around and completely rewrite it much better. You are such a better writer now that you have done the first, that writing the second should seem exciting simply because you know so much more about how to do it right.

  3. I'm experiencing this same feeling right now. I'm having a hard time writing the book I'm working on because I'm scared I'm going to fail.

    My inspirational quote? "Not to have tried is the true failure."