Monday, July 23, 2007

What if I Succeed?

By C.L. Beck
© 2007

Although most of what I write is humorous, there are rare occasions when something serious comes to mind. This is one of those times.

Last Wednesday, our writing group had a guest speaker named Carolyn Campbell. She’s a soft-spoken, charming lady who was willing to share her writing expertise with less-experienced writers.

Carolyn makes a living writing articles for magazines. Yes, I did say, “makes a living”. For those of us who are making less than, um … zilch ... that’s a mind-boggling concept.

She gave us tips, tricks and hints. She told us how much money she makes. Well, approximately. She praised us for our efforts and encouraged us to keep at it.

I came home excited, ready to send off stories that I’d already written that might make good magazine fodder. But by then it was late. It’d been a long day of traveling to and from Salt Lake City, plus a couple of hours at the meeting. I figured it would be best to start in the morning, when my mind was fresh.

The next day I woke up pumped, raring to go after the magazine market. But first, I needed to get my newspaper column written before the deadline. And make a few birthday cards that needed to go out. And a thank you card to Caroline.

Then I needed to go across the street and pick up my neighbor’s paper, since she’s out of town. And make sure the Steller’s jays that come to visit had some peanuts.

When I was certain everything was taken care of, I sat down to write my magazine query. Before my backside even hit the chair, I was up and into the pantry for a snack.

That’s when it occurred to me: I was stalling.


I don’t know. But when I find myself gobbling Tostitos chips, it’s usually a sign that I’m anxious. I had to ask myself … what’s worrying me?

I wondered, am I afraid I might succeed? I know that sounds nuts, but there’s a counseling theory that states people tend to stick with those behaviors that make them comfortable. The longing to remain comfortable might be something that holds many of us back.

One of my favorite sayings goes something like this: “Lord, let me win the lottery to prove to you it won’t spoil me.”

Am I afraid of winning the writing lottery? I haven’t figured out the answer to that yet.

But how about you? Are you afraid to succeed?


Stephanie said...

Definitely. I figured that part out, I just haven't figured out how to get past that fear. Still working on that part.

Candace Salima . . . the LDS Nora Roberts said...

Just forge forward -- rejection is just something to paper your walls with -- but once you are accepted the joy is incredible, even if they paycheck isn't that great until you are more well known. You can do it -- just sit down, write the letter as you have taught do and mail that sucker off. We're all rooting for you! That would be the LDS Storymakers!

Jennifer said...

Yes, I think fear of success is one of the most mixed-up but true reasons for my long bouts of writer's block. Good luck moving ahead with your goals despite that fear!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Carolyn is a marvelous lady -- I'm glad you had the chance to meet with her.

C. L. Beck said...

Stephanie, Candace, Jennifer, and Tristi,

Thanks so much for commenting ... and for the encouragement, Candace and Jennifer.

I apologize for the delay in responding to your comments. Life always seems to be racing three weeks ahead of me!

Thanks again for reading.