On Fear

Category

I get it now!

I finally get it! Writers and salespeople are the same! They’re whiny, lazy, cowardly, constantly make excuses, always blame others, and are generally reprehensible! (Also, the drinking. All the drinking.) They’re the same because writers and salespeople do the same thing: they dance with the fear. Day in and day out, the thing they do is tiptoe up to the edge and, when they can no longer put it off any longer, they jump. And once you jump, it’s easy!...

The Carcer Principle

Let me tell you one of the most important lessons my favorite author ever taught me. In Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch, the main villain is a thief, murderer, and all-around bastard named Carcer. He’s the very picture of a psychopath—he has no conscious, feels no guilt, and doesn’t even understand the idea of right or wrong. He’s egotistical, volatile, constantly smiling, and he always has an extra knife. In a basically well-run city where the rule of law is kept, he...

What the hell do we do now?

Quick update, for those who haven’t been following the news. The CIA has reportedly concluded that, not only did Russia interfere with the US election, it did it not to increase distrust in our system in general, but specifically to elect Donald Trump. This is based on the conclusion that not only was the Democratic National Committee hacked, but the Republican National Committee was hacked as well—and that information was not released. This is among other preexisting evidence that it was Russian agents...

Dancing with the fear

The other day, one of my bosses expressed admiration at what I do as a salesman. On one level: good. I love it that he thinks what I do is special! That helps me keep my job. But on another level, and this is the one I espoused to him—not sure that’s true. What I do as a salesman isn’t all that different from what he does as a brewer, and I know that because sales isn’t all I do....

Rejection, the secret place, & fundamentals

From writer, producer, & director Brian Koppelman, on rejection (emphasis mine): You must do a dispassionate evaluation. The step you try to take is, “Okay, that’s a body blow. My emotional reaction is anger and hurt. Now let me step back and dispassionately, to the best of my ability, evaluate the rejection. Is there something in that rejection that hits home in the secret place, where I know the thing is flawed? If it does, is that addressable? If it doesn’t,...

My lost job, and the beginning of my travels

So, funny story. A few months before I published Wage Slave Rebellion, I got laid off from my job. I’m sorry for not mentioning it until now. It’s not out of shame, nor a desire to keep parts of my life private. I do intend to keep some elements of my life private, but such a key detail isn’t among them. As for shame, do you really think someone who wrote a book called Wage Slave Rebellion—and those italics were for emphasis—was happy with his job? Possibly,...

Anchor

One of my friends likes to joke about how slowly I’m writing my first book. Fair enough. I myself thought it would be out by now, and I was clearly wrong. I know I’ll be able to go more quickly next time, despite evidence to the contrary. That’s because I know what’s been holding me up. It’s a combination of self-sabotaging personal habits, lack of experience, and fear. These elements combine to make some days a productivity void, where I’m only able...

I don’t want you to succeed

And I hate myself for that. We humans have a destructive tendency to view everything as a zero-sum game. We are so focused on the idea of winners and losers that it’s hard for us to imagine that everyone can win. It feels like, if you get yours, I won’t be able to get mine. It feels like there’s only so much of the pie to go around. This is wrong! This is terribly, destructively, unequivocally wrong in many aspects of life. Take immigration, which is...

The root of procrastination

Most people have a procrastination problem. I know I do. How do we move past our tendency to procrastinate? Do we push through, expending willpower to force ourselves to get started? No. Willpower is finite, and the more we expend to just get started, the less we’ll have for the task in question. It’s better to search out the root cause and attend to that rather than the symptoms. So what’s the root cause of procrastination? It’s fear. Fear of failure, fear of...

What I’m afraid of

Fear is an insidious thing. It can change our behavior without our even knowing it. Today I have a question for all of you: what are you afraid of? Here, I’ll go first. I’m afraid I won’t be able to back up all of my bullshit. I’m afraid I’m not nearly as good as I think I am. I’m afraid that I’ve spent all this time writing a dud, and the closer I get to the day when I’ll find...