Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fear of Failure

I have anxiety and fear of failure about a lot of things, depending on what I'm working on at the moment. I have three books out there in the big scary red ocean doing their thing, maybe sinking, maybe floating, maybe headed to some distant shore. Who knows? I can't think about it or I drive myself crazy.

Fear of failure can be paralyzing, keeping one from acting or moving forward. I cope by reminding myself that better people than me have failed. And what's failure anyway, but success postponed?

Now that I'm launching my massive, nearly two-year project in the making, Celerytree.com, and it's out there with doors open, the fear of failure creeps up.

I remember when Farm Girl was first published and listed on Amazon, and suddenly one day a little device appeared under the cover image with the words "Download this book to read on the Kindle."

My thoughts at the time: What in the world is a Kindle and why should I care?

I'm not saying that Celery Tree will become anything like Amazon or the Kindle. But I like to remind myself that the Kindle was pretty much ignored for its first three years. If Amazon hadn't believed in the concept and kept it out there, it would have faded away before it had a chance to change the world.

Failure is success postponed.

It's the first Wednesday in December, and this is an insecure writer's post. Hi, Alex.

50 comments:

  1. Failure is success postponed. I like that idea.

    Best of luck with Celery Tree...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ha, I like the way you think!
    And yes, this publishing business is a slow one indeed. There is no such thing as an overnight success.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like your last sentence best!! Your Celery Tree will soon be a Forest, KarenG!! Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  4. No failure, you'll get there. Just a journey.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Failure is success postponed." <--I love that! So true. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Girl, you are SO normal! You are brave, and brave people see failure as an opportunity to learn, and if you learn you succeed! Voila!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good one! Keep on keepin' on - that is the difference between success and failure. The failures stopped when they fell down, the successes got up one more time.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love that, Karen. Failure is success postponed.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  9. Its all about perspective. I don't fear failure. Its just one way of discovering how not to do something.

    ReplyDelete
  10. In time, Karen, Celery Tree will work. People just need to get used to the idea. It's a good idea. Keep believing in it, and others will too. xx

    btw, whoah! Blog make over? How come?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think success in publishing works a lot like compound interest. It takes regular contributions earning interest over time to see substantial results.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Believe in your efforts, Karen! Don't give up.

    ReplyDelete
  13. All of these comments are awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is my first visit to your blog and I think I am going to steal your last line--"Failure is success postponed."--and tape it over my desk. : )

    ReplyDelete
  15. Failure has visited me now and then and is always an unwelcome visitor even though it can teach a few good lessons. I'd rather learn the lessons without having to deal with the failure.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love the tag line.I have to believe that failure only comes from never trying. Nice to meet you Karen,I'll be back.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Karen! I'm a new follower via Alex's IWSG. I try to connect with a few new bloggers every month. I love your post. I think it's a basic human fear, to fail. But while failure is a real concern, the worst thing a person can do is not try at all because of that fear. It takes real courage to move forward in spite of the fear.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think fear of failure is responsible for stopping a lot of people in their tracks. It certainly makes me stumble.

    I love the phrase, Fear is postponing success!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Forgot to say the other day that I like your Christmas header :)

    This is the second Insecure post I've read today that I could have written. Just last week I was freaking out about indie publishing a novel in the spring. Fear of Failure had reared its ugly head. I beat it back behind the bush, but I don't think I killed it. Yet.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yikes! I don't know any of us that don't face that fear everyday, if we think about it. Maybe it's part of perfectionism, maybe it's part of being a creative person, maybe it's just part of life...and of course, you do know that failure is a very subjective term!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Karen - I read your comment on my post. Thanks for the advice! I never really thought of querying a press directly. I'm not sure what would be involved with that, and I don't know where to start to find a small press, but I will look into it. If you have any info on that, please let me know. I'm rather new at all this stuff. That's why I love meeting new folks like you!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am smiling at your laughing at my post :-D :-D (did that even make sense *haw!*

    And, Thank you for saying that about "not know what i wrote until I posted it" -- I never thought of it in that way. Perhaps sometimes I do need to say a little something about this thing I do. I think too many times authors/writers are afraid to come off as abrasive or annoying or like used car salesmen, when really, we have to talk about our stuff sometimes! Even if we are just excited or terrified about it - or both!

    Now i need to go check out Celery Tree!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Your last statement is going on the wall near my desk. Perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  24. That Celery Tree thing sounds like a great concept! I will mention it to several Indie authors I know. Great quote to end with too. We all need that reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Liza, Yay! Hope it helps. I keep repeating it to myself. Because today really is an insecure Wednesday.

    Kathryn, Someone once left an anonymous comment on my blog a long time ago, complaining that I didn't even have information about my books where anyone could find it. (They also said I was too negative and obsessed with followers but I chose to ignore that bit.)

    Nancy, Start with asking around, maybe do a post about small presses. The best way to find a good one is to talk to authors who published with them. Just don't Google "How to find a small publisher" because you'll attract the trolls. There's an author named Jeremy Bates who writes adult thrillers and has two books coming out this year with two different small publishers. He also has an agent for another one, so he's a good one to ask. He has a blog and facebook page, shouldn't be hard to find.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm sure it will be very successful! I love the name Celery Tree :) very creative.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Here is a great quote by Albert Einstein that keeps me sane: "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving". I would add: Keep moving, don't let any fear stop your great work. Don't let your mind play games. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Karen: I wanted to get one of your books today but I get stuck. Do I have to register in order to buy the book from celerytree?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Julia, You don't need to join but you do need to register/log in. I'll email you.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Julia, I checked with the expert and he said that registering is simply providing your mailing information for the book to be sent to you, etc. It doesn't require any other obligations if you're registering just to make a purchase and not to be a member. Hope this helps!

    ReplyDelete
  31. "Each failure is a rung in the ladder of success." I don't remember who said this, but it has resonated with me since I was seventeen. FAilure can be a very good teacher.

    BTW, cool website. I plan to peruse it tomorrow when my brain is less fried.(:

    ReplyDelete
  32. Failure is not trying. We succeed when we take the chance. The rest does not matter.

    ReplyDelete
  33. You will get there I am sure. Failure doesn't really exist it just means that you might have to find a different road with new opportunities if something doesn't work out straight away. Seem you are already on the right road

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks, Karen. I will try again later today, then. If I have any issues I will let you know. The problem I had yesterday was that I had a ook in the cart and then I did not know how to check out and buy the book. Hopefully, I will figure it out today. So then I will register, log in, then. I was not sure about this. Thaks.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Fear can stop us from doing so many things. I like your statement: Failure is success postponed.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Just wanted to let you know that I am reading House of Diamonds on kindle. I found out about the book through a review of books from one of my blogger friends.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Just now put Farm Girl on my kindle. I love books about history. I know I will like this!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Fear is something that can either hold us back, or push us forward. I'm terribly afraid of quitting (even though it sounds so easy).

    ReplyDelete
  39. "Failure is success postponed" - I love that!! And you make such a great point about Kindle, etc. I struggle with anxiety and fear of failure as well and this is something I will remember the next time I find those fears creeping in.

    I'm looking forward to starting Farm Girl on my Kindle, I'm so thrilled to be able to download books now. :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Julie, Glad you're excited about your Kindle LOL. I'm excited about people who want to download Farm Girl! Thanks for your comment, it made my day :)

    And I try not to think what might have been if WiDo had put Farm Girl on Kindle right away, back in 2008 when the call for ebooks came out from Amazon. Like most publishers, WiDo ignored that and continued to focus on print sales. Not that I'm criticizing the choice at all, but it's just interesting how publishers were the last ones to get on this while self-published authors were the first.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Celerytree, eh? Never heard of it, but I'm about to have! (That seemed like an awful sentence, but there you go!). I like your failure quote...that's a good way to think of it!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I love that last sentence, Karen. I'm scared of failure, too. I think we all are. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I feel not so alone now.

    ReplyDelete
  43. "And what's failure anyway, but success postponed?" - This is going up on my classroom bulletin board tomorrow! :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. I have two fortune cookie slips of paper on my laptop. One says, "Failure is the mother of success." The other says, "Act as if it were impossible to fail."
    Excellent reminders. And these things take time. As long as you're in it for the long haul, you will have success. :)

    ReplyDelete
  45. "Failure is success postponed."

    I'm taking this^ with me everywhere. Thank you, Karen.
    As the mother of ten and the author of three, you know what you’re talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I think the more successful a person is the more they fear failure. More at stake . .

    I've been enjoying your posts and will soon get to reading a couple of your books. The problem with the Kindle is the books get lost in the list of new ones purchased.

    Argh, I have so much reading I need to get done.

    ...........dhole

    ReplyDelete
  47. Yes, you might fail - but those who don't try, ALWAYS fail. Whenever I look back in life, it's always the things I passed up - opportunities, dates, etc. I regret, not the things I tried that didn't work out.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Beverly, "Yes, you might fail - but those who don't try, ALWAYS fail." So good to remember!

    ReplyDelete