The Fear

No, I'm not talking about the Lily Allen song (which is about cocaine, apparently), I'm talking about The Fear. My Fear. An irrational, stupid Fear I have when it comes to my writing.

You may have noticed that of late, I've not been talking about the Pipe Dream that much, using the excuse of the Profession ... or the weather ... or Tetris. I don't think it's actually procrastination - it's The Fear. I've mentioned before how I'm always working on my drafts - how they are never good enough - and this is The Fear.

The Fear I will never be good enough.

Even when (if) I'm lucky enough to be published, I don't think I will ever be satisfied. I have joked quite a few times that I will be found in bookstores with my blue Bic revising my published books - if I just tweak this and change that ... then it will be *so* much better. There are friends - on here and offline - who tell me to leave my books alone, that they are fine as there are. Still, I can't help fiddling. In my defence, some edits have improved the books, but some are unnecessary. Like now, with TROG. I should just parcel it up and post it, yet The Fear is goading me to keep tweaking to the point I just want to scrap it all.

I can't help but think I'll never be good enough. Even if I achieve publication, I worry I won't be good enough. Sure, I *might* get good sales and reviews, but I was always told to be the best I can possibly be. Mediocrity scares me.

I know it is fantastic to be published - that that in itself is a bloody marvellous achievement - but I do worry it won't be enough; that unless I have top acclaim, it won't be enough for me and the people around me.

I am an over-achiever, I admit that. Perhaps I have an unrealistic unobtainable standard, but I have always felt I have to strive to be the best. I don't mean this in a conceited way - I don't mean to devalue or make light of what I have achieved so far with my writing - but my standard is high. Maybe impossibly high. Because of this I worry that even if I achieve my Pipe Dream, I will somehow fail these expectations.

This is my Fear.

I hope you understand this, and I hope you don't judge me too harshly for my flawed thinking. I know it's irrational and I know I have to learn to draw the line because my writing is at stake here (OK, that was a wee bit melodramatic!), but I do have to learn that I am not compromising myself (and my writing) if my mythical "perfection" is not achieved. I need to learn to be happy with what I've achieved so far. I mean, I *should* be happy with what I've achieved so far! I need to, and I will, overcome The Fear, but sometimes it's hard to ignore this irrationality, especially with my writing as it means so much to me.

I hope you all understand and a few of you confide that I'm not alone here - that you too live with Fear. If so, what is it?


  1. Totally understand that fear. It seems like I always hold myself to a higher standard than I do others. If you ever figure out how to conquer it please let me know

  2. I think we've all got the fear, and those who don't are probably lacking in self awareness. I try to remember that we're always writing under deadlines, so whatever I turn in is not the best it could possibly be ever, but the best I could do with the time I had. And I try to hold myself to deadlines, because otherwise I will obsess over once piece until writing is just no fun anymore.

    I'm still frightened to put my work out there, but I'm excited too.

  3. I think most of us have The Fear we're not good enough, to different degrees. I think the fact that you ARE writing, and sending your work off and so on though means you have got through the main barrier - that one where you make yourself vulnerable by letting others see your work. Good for you! :)

  4. Hey Elle, you need to lose this fears! I know how hard it is, I'm also full of fears...I'm studing and even when I receive a good mark I think that I don't really deserve it...( even if deep inside I feel that I can and deserve more!)And I'm scared by mediocre life...very much actually!But I really want to lose all my fears and not to recheck all my dcicions/actions...In Russian there is a proverb: measure 7 times and then cut"(oops,rigt now I found in google English version: better to measure ten times and cut once;)) , but sometimes these 7 or 10 times are TOO MUCH I think;) I think we loose many opportunities in our life while "measuring". I love how you write, I think I will never could so( even in my native language!)Do what you love and do it with love and without fear! By the way, I always feel that I'm great, creative and so on while I'm sitting at home but when I start doing sometning...I think, those are satisfied by themselves who do nothing;) But those who do, and give to their creations a part of soul always are unsatisfied by themselves/creations.For example Russian classic Leo Tolstoy rewrote his major novel"War and Peace" for million times during 5 years(or maby more=0).

  5. @misa101 - Will do! Thanks for stopping by! :0)

    @ Ashley - I think once I have an agent, I'll be fine - I'm missing a reportable deadline. It doesn't really work out for me at the moment having myself to answer to!!

    @ Paula - Thank you, Paula! :0) Hopefully one day I'll get there! (Hopefully one day *soon* would be nice!)

    @ ZuKi - Thank you for your nice words! :0) As for:

    But those who do, and give to their creations a part of soul always are unsatisfied by themselves/creations.

    I definitely think that is *very* true! I will try and lose The Fear and concentrate on what I love! :0)

  6. Everybody has that fear, but it's just that the people who seem annoyingly confident all the time are just better at hiding it!

    So me the best way to counter it is realising that the way that I feel about things isn't always a fact. Sometimes we all feel stupid and completely devoid of talent, yet in our more rational times we all can agree that we're just exaggerating how we feel about ourselves!

    (Sorry it took me so long to comment here... I've been a bit out of the loop as of late)