Don't Blink

I'm having a really weird and hectic couple of months, you guys. Lots of deadlines and lots of stress, and mostly the kind of stress you're not supposed to complain about, because it only comes from too many good things happening at once. Who knew that publishing a book could do that! Who would have thought!

Do you remember Neil Gaiman's commencement speech? The really killer amazing one? You watched it, right? Tell me you watched it. It's well worth the 20 minutes.

He makes a brief reference to the problems of success -- to that pressure of always doing better than your last thing. It is absolutely true that being a success has its problems (even at a much, MUCH smaller scale than Neil Freaking Gaiman) and he only barely brushes on what they are.

And yet it's nearly impossible to talk about these problems in a public forum, because even saying, "Yes, I am in a good place in my career right now, but X, Y, and Z are totally freaking me out," shows an arrogance, or maybe a lack of humility, or maybe a sense of ingratitude toward what you've accomplished or lucked into.

At a certain point, you are supposed to project nothing but confidence and poise. I feel like this does a disservice to people who are struggling with the same issues at any scale, because it creates the false sense that there comes a point when that all goes away. Given my own modest experience and that of many of my close friends, I'm growing suspicious that that pressure only gets greater the higher you climb.

So at the risk of being a little crass, I would like to say: Hey, I'm just a human being, and I have a lot going on right now, and most of it is REALLY GREAT, but boy howdy I wish I could slow it all down some. I am freaking out a little. I mean, I'm completely fine, I'd just like to acknowledge that this is a thing that is happening right now.

I've written about this before, of course. That's because The Fear is a thing I'm constantly dealing with, a roadblock on my way to doing more work or better work or just plain any work at all. I sure do wish, though, that I could get rid of this feeling that one tiny mis-step will completely ruin me forever. It's probably not really true, and it definitely doesn't help anything.


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