Writing FOMO

I’ve just booked my ticket for the 2018 Fantasy Convention in Chester. It’s almost exactly six months away and I’m looking forward to it immensely. To keep me going in the meantime I have Edge-Lit in Derby.

Conventions like these are great for learning more about the craft and the business of writing, and for making connections with other writers – both those who are in a similar position to myself, and those further down the road who are able to give me the benefit of their wisdom.

Recently, a couple of my fantasy-convention friends have published new works. Cat Hellisen has a fantasy novel, Empty Monsters, while Joseph Cole and Ali Nouraei have stories in the Not So Stories anthology (a post-colonial take on Rudyard Kipling). Meanwhile, my brother Thomas J Spargo (also a writer) has a couple of stories coming out in anthologies soon. It’s great to see them having success, and a chance to read some excellent writing.

The only trouble is my lurking FOMO – the fear that I’m missing out, and things are passing me by. Why haven’t I written more short stories, and gotten them into some anthologies? Why haven’t I finished my novel yet and found a publisher for it? Why I am so slow? Such insecurities are common among writers, and if you’re not careful, they can fester.

Well. When such feelings surface, it’s time for some self-talk. Like reminding myself that this isn’t a zero-sum game. That I have a baby to look after, who is very cute but also kind of time-and-energy-consuming so no wonder my work rate has slowed. That I made a deliberate decision to concentrate on long-form fiction rather than short stories, and you obviously can’t crank out a 100k-word novel as fast as you can a 5k-word story. And that, since only I can write my novel in a way that’s truly my own, it’s impossible to ever really miss out, however long it takes.

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