Five Fears

I came across a blog post about the five fears that keep writers from writing.  They helped me tremendously.  And they might help you, even if you don’t write.

My greatest fear, I think after reading this post, is the fear of mediocrity, which “manifests itself as perfectionism.” The Copyblogger writes

Writer Dorothy Parker couldn’t meet a deadline to save her life, because she said for every five words she wrote, she erased seven. Our fear of mediocrity manifests itself as perfectionism, and perfectionism prevents us from simply putting things out there and resolving to get better over time. With that approach, we fail to achieve anything at all.

Right now, if I think about it, I’ll realize that this article is never going to be good enough, no matter how long I spend on it. In fact, what the hell am I doing writing a blog anyway? Is this what I was put on this planet to do?

Then I take a deep breath, and move on to the tips for dealing with the fear of mediocrity.

  • No one will ever be perfect, so let it go.
  • Action beats inaction every time.
  • Accomplishing anything feels better than accomplishing nothing.
  • This is the biggest reason I write slowly or not at all.  The biggest reason it takes me two years or more to put out a record.  And I’ve always been this way.  I remember a parent teacher conference in the sixth grade with Mrs.Kensington.  She told my parents I did well on my tests and seemed to be smart enough to do the work but I hadn’t turned in about half my assignments.  The reason I gave?  They weren’t good yet. “Yet” is a favorite of mine.

    I need counseling.  No, seriously.  I need to figure out where this pattern started and how to stop it or I’ll get nothing done.  And getting nothing done, ironically, makes me something worse than mediocre.

    Like I said, helpful article.

    What’s keeping you from writing, living, traveling, going back to school, quitting school, changing jobs, starting, finishing, or whatever?

    13 Comments