Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fear Factor

On Monday I wrote about failing up, which is my way of saying I'm almost ready to take a plunge into waters where failure is a given.

But before I plunge into that cold and particularly icy water I'm going to talk about excuses. Below is a list of the ones I hear most frequently and their counter arguments.

1. "Who has that kind of time? I'm way too busy."

And yet, if you look at your schedule carefully I'm sure you'll realize you have more time than you let on. We live in the twenty-first century. The main advent of which, has been to create innovations which free us from physical labor and give us more free time. If it's something really important, I'm confident you'll find the time.

2.  "I'm too old/young."

Or maybe you're just the right age. Too young, then you have so much more time and energy to keep trying and push through until you reach success. Too old? Come on, that's an easy one. You have the wisdom of your years to guide you.

3. 'They' are so much better than I am. I could never be that good.

It's entirely probable that at one time 'they' didn't know about Caps Lock either. (see Monday's post). Everyone has to start somewhere. If you never start than you are guaranteed failure. Trying doesn't guarantee success but it does guarantee that you'll learn something.

4. "But, but...what if I fail?"

This is my particular hang up. I hate the thought of people watching me fail. This was my biggest worry about publishing Losing Beauty with a small press. (What if some people classified that as failure? Should I have held out for a big six deal? What, oh what, would people say?)

The truth is no matter how successful you are some people will find a way to tear you down. The other truth is the number of people who take pleasure in your success will greatly outweigh the first group. Surround yourself with the second group and ignore the haters. It's a tried and true survival skill that has worked since we were primordial ooze. It'll work for you too.

5. "I hate rejection."

Have you met anyone who thrives on rejection? Nope, me neither. We all hate rejection. And sadly, we all get rejected.

There's a corallary to this excuse. Do you like it when people say wonderful things about you? Yes, me too!

As a writer, there's no way to experience the good unless you risk the bad. If you've followed my advice for #4 above, you'll have a bunch of writer friends to hold your hand through each and every rejection. We know! We feel your pain. We are fellow recipients of enough rejections to virtually wallpaper every corner of our virtual bathroom too.

Ironically, today I'm leaving you with an excuse of my own. It's excuse #1 in fact.
Friday will be a blogger break day for me AKA Girl's Weekend.  I guess that's the last thing about excuses. Sometimes, every once in a while, they're okay.

See you all on Monday when I'll be chronicling my first attempt to push myself into the cold, cold waters of failure. The good news is it's just metaphorical water and I'm pretty confident I won't drown.


Michael Di Gesu said...

Nicely said, Johanna ...

A writer or anyone for that matter can cripple themselves with these fears and cliched excuses...

Have a fun weekend!

Tonja said...

Don't think of it as failure. It takes courage and strength to act in spite of fear.

Sabrina A. Fish said...

"Failure is an event, never a person. If you are still trying, you haven't failed." These come courtesy of my pastor, Craig Groeschel of and I think he is spot on.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You only fail if you stop trying.
Enjoy your weekend!

The Bookworm said...

Thanks for this post Johanna :) And good luck!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

"As a writer, there's no way to experience the good unless you risk the bad."

This is so true! There's a lot of scary bad out there, even after you get published, but the shining moments of good are suffering through them.

Hart Johnson said...

Great post, Johanna! I am guilty of that time thing. I think I have none, but will get trapped in a cycle of spider solitaire or SUDOKU and waste WAY too much. I need to honestly plow on... I tend to not be bad about the failure one, probably because I am delusional. i will get there (no matter what it is)

Copyboy said...

I think based on your advice those writer groups are oh so helpful. BTW...if you're interested I'd love to feature your book on my site –

Pame Brennan said...

Guilty! #1 is quite handy I must admit! Have a GREAT girls weekend!

Carol Kilgore said...

So good. I love this:
If you never start than you are guaranteed failure.

Scarlett said...

#4 is my favorite, Johanna!

I think it pretty much sums it up for me. Well that, and an occasional bout of exhaustion... spelled L-A-Z-Y.

Our excuses become debilitating when we cease to move. Needed this reminder today, I think. Thank you!

jenny milchman said...

You've already succeeded, Johanna. With LB. With the question you've posed right here. And by diving in.

I have faith more successes will follow--and also many people cheering, because who, WHO, would want to cut you down??

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks Michael, so excited to spend some time with friends.

Tonja, I love the idea of repurposing it as courage.

Sabrina, great quote!

Thanks Alex!

Naida, thanks so much. I might need it :)

Dianne, the shining moments are really wonderful.

Hart, I'm afraid to even google spider solitaire.

Copyboy, thanks I'll check it out.

Thank you Pame!!

Scarlett, I can't imagine you as L-A-Z-Y.

Awww, Jenny!! And it's so wonderful to have so many writer friends to cheer for now! said...

I really like your attitude, Johanna. Good point, too, that people don't tend to enjoy rejection.


Unknown said...

Very wise words. I think I've used all of these excuses ad infinitum or or at leat a million times before when it comes to things. I'm trying to get through the fear that I have about forging ahead from my comfort zone. Definitely will be looking on your previous post. :)

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Basically, our own worst enemies happen to be ourselves. Interesting and so true. I know I defeat myself on a regular basis.

T. L. Cooper said...

Johanna, another thought provoking post that I must admit made me wince in recognition of each excuse. I believe I've used every single one at some point in my life. Though, I can say I'm getting better at talking myself out of those excuses... Slowly but better nonetheless.
Good luck with your push into the cold, cold waters of failure... Dare I say I hope you fail at failing... :-)

Sarah Tokeley said...

Have a wonderful weekend, and thanks for taking away my arsenal of excuses :-)

I'm looking forward to seeing what next week brings.

Talli Roland said...

What a great post! You never know until you try - you can't succeed without putting yourself out there.

PK HREZO said...

Dive in, girl! I'll be swimming there with you. Already got 1 rejection from my most recent WIP, and yep, it still stings... but we just note the progress so far, and keep swimming. :)

Unknown said...

Very well put together list! I especially like number. And, unfortunately, have thought this from time to time. Then I get off Facebook and realize where all my time went.

Jo Schaffer said...

Awesome! Go for it!

I tagged you for a game-- check out my blog.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

If we fail, we get up, learn from it, and try again. Try-fail-adjust-try again.