The Soul of the Matter: Too Close to Quit?

Ever notice that the closer you draw to something you really want, the more inclined you can be to quit the race that’s gotten you there? I know I can’t be the only one who’s natural tendency is to dream big and fight hard to make that dream happen, only to begin doubting (or dreading failure) just as the moment of victory draws closest… It’s so easy to pursue something beyond your reach, if you’re the type of person who doesn’t intimidate or quit or back down. Not so easy, for many of those same people, to accept that the achievement of all that’s been fought for has really, truly arrived.

dont quit every difficulty is an opportunity in disguise

Precipitory anxiety is as natural an occurrence to my creative mind as craving the sound of water, feeling more inspired between midnight and 3 am than any other time of the day, and always looking for a different way to see and experience ordinary things others pass by without a second thought. I’m good in a fight. I’m the point person who believes any threat or challenge can not only be tackled but conquered. I’m a gamer. But…wait a minute…what do I do at game’s end? More often than not, I find my instincts screaming, “But…what do you mean it’s over?” Because, I think, it’s easier for me to be in love with the dream than to accept the scary proposition that I could actually bomb at the very thing I’m wanting so badly to happen. Sound familiar?

Puppy Dream big

I don’t know about you, but I feel much more in control when I’m scrapping and slugging it out and no one really expects me to get where I’m going but me.But put me in the end zone with folks cheering me on (or flash me an early glimpse of what that moment’s going to be like as I draw ever nearer), and I’m at least for a moment or two a freaked out writer geek who is terrified that everyone’s going to be looking while I somehow find a way to f**k it all up. So, maybe, it would be better just to never really get to that finite, glorious place where so much expectation and excitement meets reality and I’m finally allowed to perform on the strange I’ve known all along I could excel on…

Expectation can be a killing thing, if you let it drive you to doubt all that you’ve achieved and dreamed and fought tirelessly to make reality. If you’re like me, there are always those moments where your expectation is that you will fail and fail HUGE, no matter how successful you’ve been at winning the small battles drawing you ever closer to your goal. We often put so much pressure on that final moment of victory, we stake our entire future on whether or not we can handle actually having what we want. We too often assume we can’t–just because it would be easier NOT to rise to the challenge we’ve won for ourselves, than it would be to put it all on the line one final time only to fail the biggest fail of our lives while others watch us go down in flames.

Don’t do that, if you, too, are too close to quit now. Don’t deny yourself the chance to win and succeed and feel gloriously triumphant, because you can’t turn off the expectation of not being able to handle the shiniest of moments in your long-fought battle.

quote act without expectation

Act instead. Continue to act and fight and know that this is only a new beginning. A new battle to carry on from a place of triumph, NOT from a scary place of potential failure. You’re not going to fail, not in any way that would keep you from fighting on. If you were, then you’d have bowed out before now. What you are going to do is revel and enjoy this moment and allow it to nurture you the harder times to come–on your way to your next success. Stop expecting yourself to fail just as you’re succeeding most. Remember, that’s not who you are. You’re the person who succeeds just as circumstances are conspiring most to shut you down.

Yes, I’m talking to myself. Yes, I’m looking at another exciting time of potential personal and publishing success and trying not to pee my pants. And, yes, I’m sharing the angst of it all, as well as the triumph, because I’m certain I’m not the only person out there who finds the successful moments hardest of all to navigate. And my The Soul of the Matter posts have never pulled their punches when it comes to just how bizarrely I can see the world around me and within me and in all of us. So sit back and enjoy the ride… I suspect October, November and December to be rich fodder for more motivational and self-doubting posts just like this.

Will I fall apart? Will I be cheering only myself on as I angst into the void? Or are there others out there brave enough to claim their neuroses with the same abandon? Time alone will tell.

Join me if you dare (or if you like to feel better about yourself by watching a writer come unglued as her biggest publishing debut to date draws near ;o). But above all, never, ever quit. Keep fighting. Keep claiming your own success. Then start the next battle right away, climbing to your own next dream height. And then the next…

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9 Responses to “The Soul of the Matter: Too Close to Quit?”

  1. Ginger Calem says:

    Fantastic post and came at a perfect time for me. I am facing some new challenges from some victories on my journey as well as the ‘end zone’ of a writing project that, just as you described, has me wanting to pull back to ensure I don’t fail HUGE. ACK! So, I’m with you! Pushing forward one step at a time.

    • The next step is HUGE, Ginger. Then the next. Just like those first baby steps that got you going on this journey. I’m looking down the field at the endzone I’ve fought all year to reach, at the mounds of work between me and getting there, and only now do I find myself doubting. Why? Because it’s easier to prepare myself, I think, for failure, than it is to put my head back down, give it my all as I have from the start, only to find in the end that it hasn’t been enough.

      Balls to that, I say!

      It’s been enough so far. I’ve been enough, and so have you. We’re going to be enough going forward, just the way we are. Right? Right???

  2. robena grant says:

    This is so timely, Anna. Thank you for that much needed shot of courage. I just read the formatted pages of my first book to come out from The Wild Rose Press next Spring. Soon I’ll sign off on the galley copy. This week I start edits on the 2nd book in the series. Just reviewing the book and seeing what it will look like to the reader filled me with dread and I kept telling myself to have unwavering faith. Ha ha. You’re an old hand at this game and to know that you have those same doubts and fears and worries…well, it cheers me up and cheers me on. Thanks.

  3. Emily Sewell says:

    Great post, Anna. Thanks for the reminder that we tend to put up roadblocks at various points along our own paths and it’s up to us to get by them.

  4. I had a dream, a big dream to finally be able to quit my job and become a full time writer. Then my contract ended and I face planted right into the ‘dream’, so now what? No more excuses right? Well after a couple weeks of walking in circles trying to figure it out, I’m finally sitting down to writing and pushing forward the next big goal. I do tend to pull out and make excuses when it seems something is within my reach or that it’s going down in flames, but hey what’s the use of coming to this big party called life if we don’t try to stand out at least once. Great post Anna – my thoughts are provoked!

  5. Please tell me how to share this on my website. Such good inspiration and motivation against quitting the frustrating world of publishing.

  6. Teresa Blue says:

    Got to thank you so much for this wonderful post, Anna. It really hits home and echos loudly how I’ve handled my writing thus far. After fifteen years, the only one holding me back is me.

  7. Hello Anna,
    And the same for me, Thank You for the timely post, for sure! The above post about ‘getting around our own roadblocks’ I totally get. I’ve begun creating Assemblage art boxes, representing concepts and memories too.
    Am one of the “Valhalla” neighbors in PA. All the Best to you and Andrew, Happy Autumn time!

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