4 things that stop you writing: #4 The Fear of Success

Tom Evans is the author of Blocks: The Enlightened Way to Clear Writer’s Blocks. Follow him on Twitter at @thebookwright.

#4: The Fear of Success

This last fear is one that can be the most debilitating. You’ve cracked all the other fears and may have even finished your book or your creative project. You may even have it printed and published … but it’s not selling and you’re struggling to promote it. It’s a fear which is quite nebulous too so often it goes unnoticed.
This is a fear that I have recently experienced first hand. The reason it hit me so hard was that when I was the most financially successful in my life with two businesses, this was when I was also the most stressed.
So I directly equate success with stress and used my creative mind to avoid success at all costs.
The signs that this is happening in your life are:

  • You jump on to the next project without really finishing off the first
  • You work on behalf of other people before you
  • You become a ‘busy fool’

And I am proud to say I have all these T-shirts.

Strategies for Getting over the Fear of Success

  1. Redefine what success means to you – it doesn’t have to be about the financials. By using criteria that avoid money, you will find the financial rewards come in their own way and time but perhaps in a form you weren’t expecting.
  2. Write down all the times you have been successful in your life. How did you feel? What was good about the success? What was bad about the success? Are there any common themes emerging?
  3. Notice that being successful without the associated stress is a success in its own right.
  4. Celebrate !!!

This reminds me, I need to do that for the publication of my book Blocks before I start the next one.
Useful links:
Interview with me on my book, Blocks

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Tom Evans

Tom Evans is a published author and poet who also mentors other authors in the writing and publication process. He is a specialist at curing both writer's and author's blocks - and yes, they are different. He works with clients on a one-to-one basis and runs regular Blockbusting workshops. He teaches the principles of whole brain and whole mind thinking and how to get our minds into the state where they can tap into unlimited creativity. Follow him on Twitter at @thebookwright.

9 thoughts on “4 things that stop you writing: #4 The Fear of Success

  • 19th April 2010 at 1:31 pm
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    If this is what is holding you back, why submit to publishers when it’s so easy to publish and promote yourself nowadays? Let your readers be your judge …

  • 16th April 2010 at 3:47 am
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    Fear? Of success? No. My fear is of the next ten, twenty or thirty rejections; my fear is of the next agent with meaningful rules like “no divorced women building new lives, please” thinking s/he is clever; my fear is of the “oh so many received daily and we need to be very selective”, and so on. And I haven’t even touched the stage when I’ll start submitting to publishers.

  • 15th April 2010 at 5:44 pm
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    Oh regarding this topic – I have no fear of success! LOL

  • 15th April 2010 at 5:43 pm
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    I published my first novel 4 years ago through a small press. I was so happy and still am. Granted it didn’t sell more than 1000 copies but at least I was published. I am almost done with my second novel and am faced with finding another publisher (my experience with the first wasn’t the best). I am finding that with this novel that I would like more readers. I don’t care about money. Never have. But I truly would love for people to read my work.

  • 15th April 2010 at 4:39 pm
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    I have absolutely no fear of success. I would welcome success with open arms. What stops you from writing is when your efforts bear no results. You may have a dream but it’s hard to chase it when you don’t have the resources (i.e., money) to continue with them.

  • 12th April 2010 at 8:33 am
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    Again this is all about setting the bar for what success means. For example, I had a chap telling me he read one chapter of my book Blocks and that it inspired him so much that he couldn’t finish the rest of the book and just had to start writing. For me, if I never sell another copy, this is success personified 😉

  • 9th April 2010 at 12:18 am
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    It is much easier to say that you can write better than a person that has been published than to actually do it.
    In your own mind your thoughts are epic. I just wrote a story and had it critiqued by a room full of people. One of the comments was that it was a “magic” story. I had everything pictured out so well in my mind that I forgot to let my readers know how the main character ended up buried alive. (duh!) It was there in my head but somewhere between my brain and the keyboard the right words got lost in the initial draft.
    Now that same group is re-critiquing my story and I am hoping that they like it better and that I filled in the plot holes properly. After their review (if it isn’t to horribly harsh) I may look at writing more stories. But then what happens if I become successful.
    Authors used to be fairly anonymous people who could walk down the street w/o anyone knowing who they were. Now they don’t seem to be so anonymous with websites, blogs, character pages, movies, etc. Sometimes feet of clay peek out. If I became successful would I want the world to have access to all of my life’s failures as well as my successes?

  • 8th April 2010 at 10:50 pm
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    Really good to discover your site. “Notice that being successful without the associated stress is a success in its own right” – love it, and aiming at that from now on!

  • 7th April 2010 at 3:37 pm
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    OMG! This is exactly where I am at! My book is published but I am struggling to promote it. I am also struggling with writing the next one. I have two more I am working on, but here I am surfing the net. You have reminded me to get back to work. Thanks.

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