6 Ways to Overcome Fear of Success for Bloggers

In Signs of Self-Sabotage in the Writing Life, I described what being afraid of succeeding looks like for some aspiring and established writers. Here are five ways for bloggers to overcome fear of success, and achieve even the most lofty blogging goals!

1. Accept your fear. Be scared. Are you afraid of getting comments on your blog posts, asking agents to represent you and your blog, writing sample chapters that may never be read, or otherwise sharing your blogging and writing dreams? Don’t fight it, fellow scribes. Accept it. We’re all scared – even the most successful bloggers. Read Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers (one of my favorites!). Make that phrase your motto.

2. Figure out why you’re sabotaging your blogging goals. You don’t have to see a psychologist to figure out why you fear success (though I admit I'm a big fan of counseling!). To get to the bottom of it, talk to people you trust, write in your journal, and be as honest and objective as possible. What are you afraid to admit? What do you know, that you aren’t allowing yourself to know? What’s holding you back? You don’t even have to go further than that. Just allowing your fears and anxieties to permeate your consciousness can free you to be more creative, more productive.

3. Accept failure as part of succeeding. “It’s a common assumption that if you really try your hardest to get something and don’t get it, you’ll be shattered – so it’s safer not to risk going out at all,” says Barbara Sher in Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want (another of my favorites!). “That is totally false. The exact opposite is true.” If you try and fail to get published, you won’t feel as bad as you think. You’ll gain experience, education, contacts, and self-confidence as a writer. Failure makes you smarter, stronger, more savvy, and more likely to succeed (if, of course, you don’t give up).

4. View your writing and editing skills as changeable. Research from the University of Toronto shows that if you think your professional skills and abilities are fixed, then you’ll become anxious if you’re successful. These psychologists found that people who think their capabilities are fixed get disoriented when they succeed, and their performance then spirals downward. To overcome fear of success as a blogger, remind yourself that you will be a better writer in a year or two (or ten!) and you will be able to handle your success and your fears. Remember: your blogging skills are constantly improving – they’re not set in stone.

5. Compete against yourself – not other writers or bloggers. “Competition in which one person must lose in order for us to win tends to undermine the best in most of us,” writes Robert K. Cooper in The Other 90%: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership and Life (another great book!) “It makes us wary and distrustful of others, causes us to withhold and distort information, makes us intolerable of uncertainty and change, and it so narrows our focus that constructive creativity is practically shut down.” To overcome fear of success as a writer, don’t compete with other bloggers, novelists, writers, etc. Instead, compare your achievements and goals to where you were a year ago. Focus on your own progress, and celebrate the progress of others. 

Is there a part of you that is afraid to blog your true thoughts, ask literary agents to represent you, or send your book manuscript to publishers? Are you afraid of failing...or of succeeding? I welcome your thoughts below...

Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen is a full-time writer and blogger who created and maintains a series of Quips and Tips blogs: Quips and Tips for Successful Writers, Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals, Quips and Tips for Couples Coping With Infertility, and Quips and Tips for Spiritual Seekers. She's also the Feature Writer for Psychology Suite101.

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