I had a freaky dream last night. I was at a con, with some friends, and we needed to call an elevator to go up to the fourth floor. We pressed all the “up” buttons, in hopes that one of the cars would come quickly. Soon the doors slid open, and we boarded what turned out to be an express elevator to the 25th floor. The doors closed before we could get off, and we noticed that the elevator was open on top. As it rose up, a bar came down and pressed me against the railing. The car rose faster and faster, and my special engraved signing pen slid out of my hand. I thought it was lost forever, but when the car finally eased to a stop and the bar rose away from my chest, I noticed the pen balanced on the back of my hand. I ever so carefully picked it up and slid it back into my pocket before I woke up.
My husband thinks (and I do, too) that it’s all about the fear of success. I know I was kidding around about not wanting to be famous last week. In all seriousness, it can be frightening to think of achieving all the success you hope for. Once upon a time, all I wanted was to sell my book. I thought about it every day. Every time the phone rang I hoped it was my agent calling. I watched my email like a hawk, waiting for that message. And then one day, it came. The book sold! Hurrah, hurray! Calloo, callay!! In the days following, I was too busy to think much past revisions and line edits, but eventually things calmed down enough for me to start worrying. I’d gotten what I wanted….what was I supposed to write now? The worry about success can be crippling. Sometimes I wonder if that’s not what happened to some writers who only ever published one book, and were never heard from again. It’s easier to accept failure than success, because we’ve failed more often – we may not like it, but it’s familiar. It reminds me of a fear of heights (something I also suffer from!) because the only place to go is up. It’s a metaphorical up, sure, but you see what I mean. It doesn’t happen to everyone, I know, and I’m jealous of the people that don’t ever suffer this way. I’m lucky enough to have a supportive group of family and friends who won’t let me stay in that morass. I take lots of deep breaths and make myself put BIC and keep slogging on until I push past the worry and the fear and the panic.
The dreams come, but I don’t have to let them be right.