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Writer Wednesday: FOMO & The Writer

Hello authors and welcome to the middle of the week. The Sword & Silk family wishes you all a Happy Pride. We are also gearing up for a big month with the release of Justine Manzano's Never Say Never and we are so flipping excited for it. Today however, here on the old bloggo we are going to touch on something so many of us have experienced in the ever moving and shaking world of publishing.

Beware the FOMO

The acronym FOMO or Fear of Missing Out actually hearkens all the way back to the mid 1990's where marketing strategist Dr. Dan Herman conducted research on the phenomenon of social anxiety, particularly around events. The term was coined in 2000 in an academic article for The Journal of Brand Management, and gained popularity into our internet colloquialisms in the early 2000's.

The FOMO centered on the belief that others might be having fun at an event or gathering while the one experiencing the anxiety is not present. The full definition is: FOMO refers to the apprehension that one is either not in the know or missing out on information, events, experiences, or decisions that could make one's life better. Applying this to world of the writer, it focuses on the belief of missed of opportunities if the one experiencing the anxiety is not present. And in our current culture of contest deadlines, pitch events, submission calls and more, the FOMO has never been higher.

When A Door Closes, Does It Open Again?

Despite the numerous paths open to authors in the current publishing age, its easy to see how the FOMO gained such a foot hold in the community. The very idea of pitch events creates an expectation, that this could be their chance to break through and be seen by just the right agent or publisher. That can sometimes be unintentionally heightened by the participation of desired agents & publishers who are closed to unsolicited queries, a pitch event allowing a toe in the door where an author would otherwise be waiting an undetermined amount of time.

This feeling doesn't only extend to pitch events, but to publishers that call for open submissions for a month or so at a time, before closing their doors again. It's in every contest with tantalizing prizes. But worst of all, it's in the mindset that so many of us have that if we don't force ourselves to participate and attempt these opportunities, they won't come around again. Even if the project we have might not be ready ('oh, if I get a like, I'll just spend the whole weekend editing it!') or we are so mentally exhausted and strained, the participation is not good for us ('but if I don't do this pitch party, I might miss my chance at that one yes'). In an industry where creators experience so much subjectivity and rejection, FOMO leaves them strained to the breaking point, burnt out, and overburdened.

Work, Life, Dream Balance

There is no easy fix to the FOMO. Let's make that clear. Creating a work, life, dream balance can feel like a monumental effort in of itself and is something that may take years to nail. But it starts with mentality. The mentality that it's okay to sit out an event. The mentality that these opportunities will comes your way once again, in one form or another, and when they do, you will be better prepared for them. The mentality that there is no time limit on your dream.

So, remember as we head into a summer of pitch events, deadlines, and subs, to be kind to yourself. Give yourself a pass if you can't participate. Opportunity will come around again.

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