The Incomprehensible Fear of Success

By Mark Antony Rossi 

I say incomprehensible because I regularly come across writers who clearly are afraid of going anywhere with their writing. The more you help them the less reliable they become until it all crashes down. An act of self sabotage which likely explains their erratic past trajectory.

I love art and I love writers above all else. It pains me to see people with enormous talent toss it out the window like a bag of gummi worms. Opportunities do not come and go in writing like a classified ad for work in a newspaper. You need to be organized. You need to want to put your work out there at every call. You need to be ready. A big portion of success is merely showing up.

Yet I am disturbed to report there are writers not even showing up. It doesn’t matter if you can’t afford an editor or a proofreader. Enlist a friend. Find a free beta reader or just take the chance and look at your work again and send it out. Any submission in any shape is worth more than the litany of excuses I am tired of hearing.

Health. Family. Money. Computer. We all have had these issues rise up now and again. This is why it is critical to stay in contact with fellow writers. We can and should help each other providing the writer is operating in good faith and not living off the decay of delay.

Talent is no longer enough in a vast marketplace of ideas propelled by lightning fast wireless devices. The author who stands out if often the author willing to put aside the time and tactics to market their work. We do not live in a world where someone is going to do that for you. You need to have a marketing plan included with your submission or you will be flatly denied before anyone reads your work.

This might appear to be disheartening but in reality it’s a freedom few had in the past when an author born on the wrong side of the literary tracks was shut out of the publishing world. Now I listen to the cacophony of complaints from people only a few decades ago were demanding greater access and respect. Your access is here. Now you have to do nearly everything. The major literary publishing houses are no more than big businesses perfectly content on printing multicolored celebrity cookbooks or tell-all’s from boring political figures who don’t even bother to write their own books.

Literature plays a vital role in life. Writers are unsung heroes across the world and still strike fear in the hearts of dictators and tyrants. Writers are jailed and murdered weekly by such men who understand the power of words. What disappoints me is how monsters appreciate the written word yet many well meaning writers refuse to fight cycle of fear. When you turn your back on your creative destiny you inadvertently psychologically subsidize the enemies of a free society.

I hear the cries of martyred word makers in my light sleep. They want justice but I feel they would settle for more of us living up to the legacy of literature: write and don’t be afraid of success. Be afraid of our dead writers visiting you at night wondering why you put to bed your talent long before you laid your head to rest.

About the Author: Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York. He also hosts a podcast called Strength to be Human.


One Comment

  1. Thanks Mr Rossi for such an encouraging article for writers. It’s true if one keeps his/ her talent in any field (that can have a positive effect on people & on oneself too) deeply buried in his/her mind ..It’s like murdering your talent.

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