Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Success: Is it a matter of facing your fears or managing time better?

My friend Jenna tweeted something interesting today:
    Lately people are talking about "the fear" which keeps them from succeeding. Am I the only one who isn't afraid? I just need more discipline.
    I suspect it's because it's easier to sell out a workshop titled "face your fears" then it is to sell one titled "stop wasting time on crap."  
    If anyone wants to hold a workshop titled "Success through efficiency" and guarantee I will walk away more efficient, I'm so there.  
I like to consider myself creative. Whether it's cooking, baking, crafting, writing, or editing, I like to make things that didn't exist before, or change things into something new. There are certain endeavors that I'm not afraid of. If I mess up at crocheting, I can just unravel it. (There's a slogan for you: "Megan Welton--Unraveling since 1996!") If I screw something up in the kitchen, chances are I didn't screw it up enough not to want to eat it. If I make a pair of ugly earrings, no one has to see them.

But for one reason or another, I find that I have a terrible fear of writing. This is going to come as a shock to probably everyone I know, because I talk about writing all. the. time. I have a new idea for this story or that movie several times every day. But for some reason, when I sit down at the computer, or pick up a pen, nothing comes out, and I'm pretty sure it's because whatever I come up with isn't going to be as cool as it is in my head.

When I was prepping for National Novel Writing Month one year, I came across an article about this very ailment. I haven't yet allowed myself to write crap. Instead, I do things that feel safe and secure, things that I'm really good at...like Twitter Stalking.

Thankfully, I've started editing, and I realize that not even the best author is perfect. Some people are closer than others, but for the most part, everyone needs a little help. And since I've had this behind-the-scenes look at publishing, I find myself obsessed with other scenes to get behind. I want to know what Inception was like as a screenplay or in storyboarding. I want to know what the other options were for the interior design of that restaurant. I want to know what that song sounded like when it was first written. What did Buzz Lightyear look like as concept art? Is my favorite piece of jewelry as "good" as the designer intended it to be?

I can't help but laugh as I write this, because everyone in my English 495 class is going to roll their eyes when they read this, but I think it really depends on how we define success. I always joke that if I were to sell a screenplay, I wouldn't ask for a lot. Just enough to get out of debt. I don't want fame or fortune. I wouldn't say no to financial security or anything, but really, I just want to like what I write or produce. And if other people want to like it too, well, there's plenty of room on this here bandwagon.


Miss Nesbit said...

You, my friend, are a cyberpunk. I agree, it's hard, but I know that you are awesome and can do it. I'm all about behind the scenes too. When DVDs came out with special behind the scenes features, I LOVED IT!

David Hulet said...

*rolling of the eyes*

MOM/SUSAN said...

Dad and I had a conversation on just this thing, but not in the context of writing. I'm thnk that a certain amount of anxiety plagues all of us when it comes to the creative process. Tell you what, you start working on one of those ideas--just jump in, and I'll pick a paint color and get started. What do you say?

Rachel said...

Word: the part about the definition of success. Generation "Me" tends to define success almost entirely in terms of fame and fortune. I am not sold. Success=contentment, not wealth. Everyone needs to be stable, of course, because it's hard to be content if you can't put food on the table, but half of success, to me, is being able to truly separate the needs from the wants and to have a secure sense of self that doesn't depend on what everyone else thinks or how many people know who you are. Maybe that's not exactly what you were writing about, but that's my response nonetheless. Word.