Why haven’t you written a bestseller yet? I’m sure you could. Go on, stop reading this and start writing. What’s stopping you? Oh, you need to do the washing up. Or watch the box set of Game of Thrones. Or do something, anything other than write. I don’t know about you, but whenever I set myself a challenge, I suddenly feel the urge to rest my head on my desk. Not because I have a weak neck, although now you mention it… But because I butt up against that old devil, fear of failure (or FoF). A participant on The Write Factor’s writing course summed it up perfectly: ‘I feel like I should be able to write a book. That has always been my dream. But if I start and discover I can’t, then my dream has been shattered, so I daren’t start.’ This is so true. (And she turned out to be a cracking writer. I love a story with a happy ending.)
If fear of failure didn’t exist, we’d all be striding around like superheroes. We’d be partnered up at discos (are they still around? Must check.) We’d all be the big cheese at work. Meetings would be very noisy. At conferences, there’d be no audience, we’d all be jostling for a place on the lectern. We’d all have written so many books that we’d start using them as furniture… Perhaps I would like a world with a dash of FoF after all.
By Emily Cunningham