Fear of the Great What's Next

Clearly not writing…

This morning, I was messing about on Twitter like I usually do. I find that Twitter is a nice warmup exercise for writing. It’s social and you have to be quick if you want to be clever. You have to be concise if you want to make sense (unlike my blog or my journal where I have these long digressions between parens, sort of like this but hopefully more interesting).

That said, this morning’s routine on Twitter was going on a bit too long. I was looking for things to respond to instead of being in the flow. I was checking out each and every link that popped up in the stream. In short, I was procrastinating.

Procastination: when you’re too stubborn to call yourself lazy and too proud to see the truth.

Rather than say I was procrastinating I wrote the definition above and sent it into the ether. Soon enough, a response came back from my friend, Alex Fayle of Someday Syndrome fame:


So here’s the final version…

Procastination: when you’re too stubborn to call yourself lazy and too proud [ed. or too scared] to see the truth.

I like the idea of the Great What’s Next, so maybe I’ll riff on that a bit and work out some of the kinks in my morning.

The Great What’s Next

At the heart of the matter, the Great What’s Next is about change and change is often a trigger for fear and excitement. It’s about possibilities and potentials. It’s also about past disappointments nagging you as you stride forward into the future.

In writing, the Great What’s Next takes many forms. It might be that next story or sending your work out for rejection consideration publication. It might be taking a huge leap into the unknown, something you know you need to do but have managed to avoid for so long you’ve almost tricked yourself into believing you’ve forgotten or outgrown the idea. It could be something as simple as admitting to yourself that you’re a real writer.

My Great What’s Next is coming due quite soon. I haven’t written about it here before, and I’m not quite ready to do so just yet. Let’s just say that like most Great What’s Next’s it’s terrifying and exhilarating. I’m anxious. I’m nervous… I’m so freakin’ ready for it I can hardly sleep at night.

I suppose that’s why I was off procrastinating this morning on Twitter. I’m just glad I have good friends to remind me of the truth. 🙂

YOUR TURN: What is your Great What’s Next? How do you deal with the fear?

Editor’s note: Keep watching. My Great What’s Next will be announced here very soon. Should be exciting if I don’t manage to bite my fingers off first! 🙂

P.S. Alex, I haven’t forgotten that I owe you an interview for your profiles. Soon, my friend. Quite soon indeed!

13 thoughts on “Fear of the Great What's Next

  1. I’m revising and editing my NaNoWriMo novel. I have two previous unpublished (and not fully edited) novels stashed away. I’m doing serious research on two topics about which I know very little. This is quite scary. This novel has the potential to be excellent. Whooo.

    I’ve been reading the War of Art, by Steven Pressman, and it has changed the way I’m managing this project. When I started reading it, late at night, I almost got out of bed to work on the novel.

    Mary Howe´s last blog post..Responsible entertaining

  2. You described me on twitter on some days especially in the afternoon when I am least effective. I’m not a procrastinator by nature, but sometimes you feel the urge to go into twitter to find conversation, to look for something to reply to … something! It could be fear. Procrastination. Loneliness.

    There’s nothing wrong with that… as long as you get your job done for clients and projects. We’re human not machines.

  3. Right now I am rewriting the second half of my novel. It has been a huge challenge, especially considering that I actually finished the first draft over the summer and then realized I had shortchanged the characters and copped out on giving them exactly what they deserved. It’s making me nervous, but I’m going with it. I’m trying to commit at least half of my writing time to it each day while continuing to pursue other projects, but it’s not easy when another idea is flowing more steadily to buckle down and finish what needs to be done.

    Twitter is such a distraction sometimes, but it can be a welcome distraction.

  4. Yes, you were right – so up my street. Twitter’s odd – I can tell the difference between the times it’s a valuable warm up, a chance to get your fingers moving… and the times when it’s an excuse to avoid doing the thing you want to do… but are afraid of.

    I’m facing one of those at the moment and I love the way you describe it as a great what’s next – I’ve realised how much there is to learn about that fear and resistance. Why we fear it – and why we want it.

    Joanna Young´s last blog post..Audacious Faith in the Future

  5. @Alex You’re so right about that. You can’t ignore fear. Otherwise it breeds in the cupboards.

    @Mary I’ve quoted Pressman here before. I love War of Art. I sooo know what you mean. Sleep seems unnecessary when you’re filled with such energy. Best of luck editing!!! 🙂

    @Meryl It’s so easy to forget our humanity isn’t it? What with the crush of so much going on each day. I went to the gym today and had a good run, but when I came back I found a table filled with chocolates (including a chocolate fountain). I think my humanity kicked in a bit to hard then. 😉

    @Jenny Like Meryl said, we’re only human. You have to take a break. You have to rest. Twitter is such a welcome place and I’m glad it’s there. It sounds like a pretty grueling schedule you’ve got. Hang in there!

    @Joanna 🙂 I knew it. I’m always learning something new about fear. Some writers press on with a bravado that is really awe inspiring. I think it’s amazing and I hope one day I can grow up and be like that. 😉 But, in the meantime, I’ll just keep banging away at the keys, trying to coax the magic into the light.

  6. @Alex A Spring cleaning of the soul?

    FYI… For those of you following along at home, @Rhodster’s comment is closer to real life than you know. Seriously, don’t ask. 🙂

  7. @Alex – I just checked my cupboards, too!

    @ Jamie – Great post. I hadn’t thought/admitted to myself that procrastination is really fear dressed in a fancy 5-syllable word. And you’re right, there’s a monster load of pride involved in getting past it. Awesome post, and so much cheaper than psychotherapy!

  8. Another thing I love about Twitter – free therapy. 🙂 Lately, I feel like “I’ve fallen and can’t get up.” The Great What’s Next has become, Great. What’s Next? I am excited for your announcement and am glad for the reminder that there is a next. 🙂

    Karen Swim´s last blog post..Little Lesons from a Big Speech

  9. @Laura Blogging is indeed the cheapest form of therapy. lol

    @Karen Thinking of you being down is a little like the way people describe the great Richard Feynman being depressed… “Feynman depressed is just a little more cheerful than any other person when he is exuberant.”

    If you think I’m kidding, then you MUST read Exuberance by Kay Redfield Jamison. Seriously. Get it and move it to the top of the nightstand stack.


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