I’m One Year Closer to 30, and the Fear of Failure

The tradition here at Comparative Geeks is to write whatever we want on our birthdays, and today is mine! When David first mentioned this tradition to me, I felt instantly overwhelmed with what I wanted to write about. Did  I want to discuss my reaction to the news of the Xena reboot and its part in continuing the trend of bisexual erasure in our culture? Did I want to talk about how I’ve been reliving a huge part of my adolescence by revisiting my favorite Final Fantasy games? I figured I can cover those later, they’re not necessarily birthday-worthy material.

Instead I realized that the way I treat this blog, personally, is an outlet for my need to write. It’s been a way for me to give myself a weekly deadline and force myself to sit down and write at least something, even if it’s just an analysis of the last thing I binge watched on Netflix. I’ve been taking the last five months, almost six, off of working so that I can focus on writing. So that I can give my stories an actual chance to turn into something. Writing for Comparative Geeks has been an awesome way for me to make sure that once a week, I’m at least writing one thing, which should hopefully keep me fresh, which should hopefully lead to writing more.

Over time, though, it’s become the only thing I’m writing each week. I had a breakthrough a month or so ago in the writer’s block I was suffering from, and I thought that would mean more work on the story I was pursuing. But the breakthrough just led to crippling doubt and anxiety. And more writer’s block. Which leads to less writing, even here.

This essentially sums up my weekend so far:

Which is funny, because I’m currently feeling like I’m continuing the existential crisis I started to go through last year when I turned 25 (or as I kept saying to myself, 1/4 of a century). I thought I’d already had a quarter life crisis, when I completely changed my life plan right as I was graduating college and gave up on my plan of moving to Hollywood to be a director. I realized too late that wasn’t what I really wanted.

Last year, though, was even more challenging than anything I’d been through, and made me realize the awful fact that we spend our lives trying to avoid: we’re only temporary. In the face of parental health issues and beginning my very adult life with my husband in a new state, I found myself faced with my mortality in a very real way. A way that challenged how I was living my life and treating my health, a way that challenged what I was doing with my time, and a way that challenged what my overall goals were for my life.

This year more than ever, I’m finally taking my age seriously. I’m taking my health seriously, and no longer living the bartender lifestyle of subsisting off of coffee, booze, and fries. I want to start taking my time more seriously, too, but that’s actually harder than focusing on health. It’s taken me a while to figure out why, but I’ve realized I’m paralyzed by fear.

Fear of wasting my time, wasting my life, fear of failing…but also fear of succeeding. Honestly, I can’t decide which is more terrifying. Finishing a book and either having it rejected or flop, or finishing a book and having it be a success. Because after success, you’re expected to keep writing. What if your next book isn’t a success? Or, what if it is and then you have to write a third? A fourth? My fear of failure is almost paralleled with my fear of success. Once your writing is out there, it feels like a very personal part of you is being shared and dissected by the public. I figured out that thrilling and terrifying reality when I started sharing my writing more publicly, both here and at Lacuna Loft. When I saw that one of my posts was quoted by a stranger on Twitter, I was elated. And oddly that elation lent itself to the fear. It’s the oddest feeling, which I cannot describe fully.

I guess this birthday I’m wondering if it’s worth it. Maybe I’m like too many other Millenials who are questioning whether or not our life should be defined by our work. I’d much rather spend time with my loved ones, enjoying all of the things I like to do than slave away at a job. Because life is short and I’d rather do my best to enjoy every minute of it. Maybe a part of me is concerned that I’ll lose that time if I succeed at writing. Or maybe I’m just overthinking everything (that happens, a lot). My goal this year is to finish a draft of a novel. I suppose if I can achieve that goal, what I do with that novel after is up to me.

For today, though, I think I’ll just ignore my self doubt and appreciate all the birthday love. And mimosas. Because life is always better fueled by mimosas.

8 responses to “I’m One Year Closer to 30, and the Fear of Failure

  1. Well, happy birthday.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Happy birthday to ya! Being 30 isn’t too bad. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Just write the book. If it flops, write another one. External success is only one benchmark, sometimes you just need to do what feels right regardless of what other people think. Good luck with figuring it all out and happy birthday. : )

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Happy birthday! The second half of my twenties brought me a lot of thought provoking moments. I consolidated some things I already wanted, took some jumps into projects I didn’t know I had it in me to do it, turned even more responsible on some accounts. None of it happened in a super organized or in an easy manner! What I can say is that now at 31, things are slowly but surely falling into place, despite the last difficult years. I’m still not totally out of the woods, but I feel like the second half of my twenties have taught me a lot. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A few things: Your life should absolutely NOT be defined by your paid work. Your creative work, and your work on the the things you passionately believe in? Those? Maybe so. I kinda thing that whole definition question is best answered if we think of our lives as defined by our relationships with other people. Within certain limits — the relationships must be healthy for it to work.

    I’ve had crises over birthdays before. 23 hit me pretty hard, but I blew right through both 29 and 39. My life after 30 has been way better than my life before.

    I love the things you listed in the opening paragraph when you were overwhelmed about what to write about. That tells me we have lots of common interests. That’s a good way to open this post.

    I do hope we can get to know one another on the internet, and I am excited about this tradition of writing whatever we want at CG on our birthdays, because mine isn’t ’til August, and I am already imagining what I might want to say here in August.

    Meet my sister, @parttimemonster, if you haven’t already. It is a little-known fact that WordPress has a tagging function for multi-contributor blogs.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sort of like texting I have a really bad habit of thinking I replied but I only did in my head…

      Thanks for the encouragement! And I agree, defining by creative works or contributions is completely different. I’ve been noticing a push from people I’ve talked to recently in my life not accepting “writing” as a career, and keep trying to push me to get a paying job, to which I say at the moment, meh…Nine to fives are not my thing.

      I look forward to getting to know both of you, I’ve seen some posts you’ve tagged David in and I think we do have quite a bit in common, which hopefully means lots of great discussions! Hooray!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. If you think you’re good enough to make “writing” a career, I say go on with your bad self. But if you do that, be sure and educate yourself about how commercial publishing works.

    I am an encourager. Nine-to-fives are not my thing, either, but I got stuck in ’em anyway.

    it’s a pleasure to meet you!

    Liked by 1 person

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