In the last thirty days, I had accumulated ten published pieces of writing. It’s as if the work was being held until after the U.S. political drama was somewhat stabilized (ha ha). Or the stars aligned. Or Dylan put out a new album. Then Voila! I was a regular contributor on two online blogs, featured on three, and became one of six writers to help launch a high profile humor anthology. Four essays were already up and running. Responses from editors were complimentary. Their edits were minimal. I even got a “I really like this.” And an “I love it!” I was heaven bound. I had waited a lot of years to hear those words. Slogging through several bill-paying careers before I could consistently sit down and write, success was only imagined.
I spent about one hour in heaven. Then I began to shake a little, ate a Danish, and drank coffee again after swearing off. I paced my living room, saying to myself, “Holy crap. What do I do now?”
A friend once told me, “I think you fear success. You tend to sabotage your path to it.”
Netflix recently posted a documentary about Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Columbian author. Something he said registered with me. Marquez had just discovered his first published piece in El Espectador, the Columbian newspaper. He said that the title of the story was eight columns wide. And the editor was giving many compliments to his writing. You’d think Marquez would be jumping for joy, right? Not so. He said, “And my thought at that moment was that I’d got into a hell of a mess because there was no way to go back, so I had to remain a writer for the rest of my life!”
Although I am no Nobel Prize winner like Senor Marquez, I had a similar thought. Oh, damn. Now I have to keep it up, that success. What if it was a fluke? What if heaven had shined down for just a moment? Can I do this for the rest of my life?
Isn’t it ridiculous that we long for success all our lives and when it finally comes, we question it? Turn it over in our minds? Work it to death?
Maybe I won’t write the rest of my life, but I will sure as heck write the next essay. And the next blog post. And more after that, until, who knows?
The only solution to the fear of success is to sit down and WRITE.