- I’m Not Good Enough
- I’m Never Going to Finish This Book
- It’s Better/Safer to Quit Than to Fail
- My Teacher Was Right (and I Can’t Be a Writer)
- My Book Doesn’t Matter
I hear these from writers I work with all the time. Many of them think that professional writers, people who’ve been publishing for twenty years like me, must never hear their brain saying these kinds of things. But the opposite is true. In fact, dealing with daily anxiety is something that gets more and more difficult as time goes on. After your first success, your brain warns you “that was a fluke” or it says “you used it all up.”
Or if you’re fortunate/unfortunate enough to have a big success early on in your career, your brain will tell you that you “only had one book to write.” Or it will buzz in your head every time you sit down to write and say, “this isn’t as good as my last book” and “this will be embarrassing to ever let anyone read.” And then you stop writing. You shut down. You quit before you fail.
Maybe it isn’t a lie that it’s safer to quit before you fail. It is safer. But I’m not interested in safe and I’m going to pester you until you don’t believe it’s safer, either. Never writing the book you are meant to write isn’t safe. Never becoming the writer you are meant to be isn’t safe. Never sharing the book that might change someone else’s life isn’t safe. It’s just cowardly, and I hope I’m not a coward. I hope you’re not a coward, either.
You just have to learn to talk back to your brain.
Yes, I hear you.
I know you’re trying to protect me.
I know you think this is dangerous.
But I’m going to keep going. I’m going to trust the process. I’m going to believe in myself and my work.
I’m not going to stop because it’s easier to quit than to fail.