It’s not always easy to recognize. I know the regular kind of scared, thanks to an old Scoutmaster who thought it’d be cool to haze new Boy Scouts by shooting at cap gun at them during a night hike. (I also know from that experience that I will instinctively drop when shots are fired.)
This isn’t that kind of scared. Instead, I’ve got a weird kind of anxiety. My brain feels scrambled. My gut churns. I want to sleep… but I’m not sleepy. It’s taken a while to figure out that it is a kind of fear.
It’s fear of screwing up.
I recently had a week off, and managed to get all of the non-essential goofing off and minor work taken care of. All that’s left are things that involve huge amounts of stress – and the potential to fail:
- Work on my thesis
There’s more, but you get the idea.
I know – and have even written – that just about every “authority” out there still feels like a fraud. They still have these moments of self-doubt and uncertainty.
And that makes it a little easier for me now, when I doubt myself. I’m procrastinating due to a fear of failure, of being exposed as a fraud, incompetent, a jerk.
So I’m going to go eat a danish – get that carb euphoria going. And then I’m going to write a little more. I’ll submit another work. And just keep going.
I’ll take it one small step at a time.
[Edited note: I also happened across this book outline of “Learned Optimism” and the Squashed Philosophers version of “Existentialism is a Humanism” right after writing this. They helped too. The former is probably pretty self-explanatory; the latter can be explained by this quotation: You and me are real people, operating in a real world. We are not figments of each other’s imagination. I am the architect of my own self, my own character and destiny. It is no use whingeing about what I might have been, I am the things I have done and nothing more. That was a dare to me. I am only as much a writer and author in that I am writing. So if being a writer is important to me (which it is), then dammit, screw the fear of failure and just get out there and do it.