Performance Anxiety

Most of what I write (aside from blog entries and social networking updates) is non-fiction, science fiction, or poetry.  However, I think my best short story is a piece of literary fiction, and it’s currently in the queue at a fairly prestigious literary magazine.  I suspect the end result will be a rejection letter; I’m prepared for the worst.

I’m okay with the prospect of rejection.   Success and its resulting reader expectations scare me, though.  How do I maintain quality output?

An alternate Me just whispered in my ear: “Trust yourself.  Satisfy your own expectations and your fears will dissolve.”

More Bruce

The workshop’s first night was quite good, and a bit risky for me. When I brought up Fear of Success (or Failure, or Rejection, or all of the above), Bruce walked me through a brief visualization exercise in which I imagined how it would feel to have my worst writing-related fears come true. Bruce claimed not to be very good at the process, but I felt comfortable enough to proceed with the exercise immediately, and that’s a testament to his interpersonal skills. I’ve done visualizations before, so it was not completely foreign, but it did make me feel as if the workshop suddenly jumped from being clinical to being personal, like the Omega and Delta Vector seminars I’ve attended in the past. That’s a good thing; I think people are able to share more that’s Real if they are being personal and a bit vulnerable. I know I work best that way. I’m excited to see how today’s workshop turns out; I think it’s safe to say that I got more than I bargained for on the first night.

At lunch, I completed my writing homework for the workshop. It was a timed exercise, both due to the timeframe in which I did it and the guidelines of the assignment. I’m not overly pleased with the results, but I did pick one of the sections and expand it a bit. It’s a strange little piece about dust motes traveling to Denver from the Far East and reuniting with lost family, including a long lost aunt, who has a few surprises up her sleeve. (Actually, I think that one line summary is more enticing than the actual 350 word piece!