Aya de Leon

author – activist – faculty – mom

Fear of Success

Different people are motivated by different things.  I can get very motivated by fear of failure.  I know how to fight as an underdog.  But ever since I got a literary agent, I’ve felt disoriented, a bit listless, and have had some challenges with procrastination, which are rare for me in the area of writing.  When it comes to decluttering or doing my taxes, I can always get a good run of procrastination going. With writing, however, I’ve had the luxury of rushing passionately to the page for the past several years.

This week, I’ve found myself dragging through this last round of revisions.  I even fell asleep several times while working on my book.  I’ve come to believe that part of me is dragging out this particular moment.  The post-breakthrough where success seems imminent, but the hard work of the next phase hasn’t begun yet.  Part of me, I think, would like to hover here indefinitely, forever on the brink of something big.

For the last four years, the prospect of getting an agent, selling a book and publishing has been so bleak that I’ve hung onto a vision.  A vague, blurry, but committed picture of success.  Now that I’m getting closer to success, I need to let go of the fantasy to make room for a much more complex reality, with it’s mistakes, letdowns, and the imperfect awesomeness that can only come with reality.

Also, this week, I had my first publication in the print issue of Bitch Magazine, a conversation with Sofia Quintero about plotting a Latina feminist invasion of chick lit.

It was so much easier to tweet about the article about my book than work on the book.  There’s something so comforting in writing about my writing from a safe distance to an audience that shares my values.

But whatever my temptations to safety, I’m committed to moving forward.  I sent the revised manuscript to my agent this afternoon.  The book’s next steps are in her hands now.  My job is to breathe and notice that fear of success is a real thing.

This week, at an event to appreciate my duaghter’s preschool teachers, one of the parents praised the teacher for asking upset children “what were you hoping for?”  A brilliant question.  Time for me to deconstruct the fantasy of my hoped for life as a novelist to make room for the novels.

wish me luck.

 

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One comment on “Fear of Success

  1. Pizzos3.com
    June 11, 2014

    I’m glad to have found your blog. I agree living the dream or fantasy can be so much easier than living the reality.

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This entry was posted on May 23, 2014 by in Uncategorized.

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