Instead of Fearing Failure, Learn to Expect Success
How Momentum is Crucial to Success in Blogging
Each day for my blog, Today in Politics, I write an opinion piece and a TIP Daily Briefing — two pieces of quality content. I expect this and it requires concentration and discipline. But, importantly, I’m not under pressure. Putting out high quality work every day — where the viewpoints are fresh, original, insightful and offer something different from what all the other pundits are putting out — is not a situation where I am under pressure.
Pressure necessarily entails the fear of failure. If you feel like you’re under pressure, it’s because you’re afraid of failing, by definition. It’s what pressure is: it’s the possibility of failing and not meeting expectations.
But I don’t look at it that way. I look at every day with the expectation of success. And it makes all the difference. I expect to write two high quality articles each day instead of fearing not doing so. I expect to grow my blog every day and reach new readers. I expect to do all these things each day because I know I can, having done them before. It’s a matter of sticking to the routine and doing it again.
And so the main reason I expect to achieve my goals every day (rather than am afraid of failing to meet them) is because I have momentum. Momentum is a real thing in writing, and it means writing every single day, getting into a habit. It’s getting into a routine and getting into a groove. It’s finding your stroke. I’ve found that if I miss a day of writing — say, over the weekend — then that next Monday when I come back, I struggle. The ideas aren’t flowing. It’s hard to get that spark, that creative muse.
But when you have momentum — when I’ve written two articles I feel good about one day — it’s much easier for me to jump back in the next morning, almost like I’m picking up where I left off. I’m confident — I feel good about my abilities and my ideas. I feel like I can produce valuable, meaningful work that evokes strong reactions in people. When I have momentum, I expect to succeed; I expect to meet my goals day in and day out. If I met my goals yesterday, why wouldn’t I be able to do so today?
Not writing for a day is losing momentum; it means starting over. Momentum is the key to being the proper mindset — if you have momentum, you expect to succeed. If not, you are in the mindset where you fear failing. Our minds are very fragile; if we lose confidence, it can snowball into a vicious cycle of self-defeat where we both fear and expect to fail, and it consumes our minds in a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This is where writer’s block comes from, by the way. It comes when we are more afraid to fail than we are expecting to succeed. We lock up under pressure; we think “My life is over if I don’t get this article done today!” instead of thinking “I will finish my articles and they will be fantastic because that’s what I’m used to doing.” We overthink it and cease being able to write freely, naturally and instinctively.
The good news is that this snowballing, self-fulfilling cycle can also work to your advantage. That’s momentum; the more you write, the more confident you’ll become, and the better your work will be.
And when you have momentum, you will no longer be a prisoner of your fear of failure, because you will have built up such a consistent habit of success and progress that success becomes the expectation.