I’ve fallen off the wagon. The blogging bandwagon that is. I’m letting anything get in the way. And writing isn’t much better.
When an idea for a blog topic hits, Mister suddenly needs full attention whether he’s demanding it or not.
When picture book inspiration strikes, a house project just needs to be completed (or started or even just brainstormed).
When the idea for my young adult book itches to be written, I find something else to start from scratch instead.
Lately, I AM my biggest obstacle to my own success. Why am I doing this to myself?
Because I’m getting close.
I’m starting to get personalized rejections from editors and agents. I’m getting good feedback in online writing communities. Published writers who see my work say I have something good. My critique partners say I need to just submit. All of that tells me I’m getting close to publication. And that is a little scary.
What if I am always just close? What if I’m not close enough to actually get published? What if something is published and it is a big flop? What if something it published and it is actually successful? Can I handle that?
I’m scared of what will happen next. So I’m preventing that from happening. I’m self-handicapping. By definition, self-handicapping is the process by which people avoid effort in the hopes of keeping potential failure from hurting self-esteem. This sounds like what I’m doing right now. Rather than risk failure, I’m coming up with lots of excuses that allow me to just not try.
If you think this sounds a little ridiculous, you’re right. I know it. But because I know just what I’m doing and how ridiculous it is, I can fix it. And I have a plan. First, I’m going to start prioritizing writing again, knowing that I never feel better than when I’m being productive. So, regardless of what happens with publication, I know that writing will improve my life. Then, I’m going to write down all of the possible outcomes from submitting my work and allow myself to see that I’ve already experienced most of them. I’ve been ignored, rejected, accepted, and published. And I’ve done okay with all of it. Once I’ve accepted that the future isn’t necessarily completely unknown, I’m going to let my writing get back on track and see where it takes me.
This isn’t a perfect science. I might fall off the wagon again. But that is what writing is about. It is a journey, just like life, with ups and downs that make it interesting and worth going through.
Blog post about self-handicapping and how to overcome it: http://www.nscblog.com/miscellaneous/self-handicapping/
Social psychology blog: http://catesocialblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-self-handicapping-strategy.html
My favorite song about ups and downs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fqh-ucVG510