Oh, No! FOMO for Writers
By Tim Suddeth
Have you ever experienced FOMO? The fear of missing out.
To me, this defines high school. Was I joining
the cool club, with the cool people?
Why did it matter so much? Because I thought they had something I wanted, and if I wasn’t a part of their group, I’d miss out.
I would love to say that I’ve since matured and left those high school feelings behind. But I still have my moments.
And writing is full of them, no matter where you are on your writing journey.
Kept in its proper context, trying to succeed is a noble trait. It makes us stretch our boundaries, to strive to improve. The problems come when this desire grows to become a fear.
Symptoms of FOMO:
Fear of Being Left BehindOne sign of FOMO is feeling like others are growing faster than you. You hear that someone wrote ten thousand words one morning, and you think you must not be a writer because you spent all morning cleaning the fridge.
friend in our group who just got published, I gave her the idea for that book. It’s
not that we don’t want them to have success, we just don’t want them to succeed
before we do.
Feeling like we are missing something can make us become desperate. They say I have to have Xthousand followers on Facegram, a new social media platform They just started. (I always wonder who They are? Trying to please the Theys is almost as bad as trying to keep up with the Joneses.)
Now, I can’t say that you should never fear missing out. FOMO is normal. It comes from our desire to succeed. To grow. But it is something we should oversee.
Tips to minimize FOMO:
Become Aware of It
One of the best ways to keep an illness from worsening is to recognize its early signs. When I start sniffling in the spring, I’d better start my allergy medicine or it’ll soon grow into a sinus infection.
Change Your Focus
Instead of concentrating on what you don’t have, appreciate what you have. Maybe you didn’t get the award, but your friend did. Or the writers’ conference EVERYONE is going to is out of your budget. But they have an online version, and you won’t have to travel.
Keep a Journal
I’m a big believer in journaling. It’s amazing how taking the time to write out your thoughts makes them clearer. Are you giving your concerns their proper weight, or is a petty problem taking up more than its share of your thoughts and time?
Connect With Real People
I’ve been fortunate to find two important groups for me; two guys I get together with for breakfast and a local group of writers. And what I found out is even though they have their happy Facebook picture times, they also carry problems they are less likely to share—health issues, family problems, doubts.
When we get together, we can help each other see beyond the circumstances to where God is working in our lives. Because isn’t that a big underlying concern of FOMO? Asking ourselves the question, Does God really care about me?
If God is on my side, working His plan in me, why should I be afraid of missing out on anything?
(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)
Tim Suddeth is a regular attendee of The Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference and a member of ACFW and Word Weavers. He’s currently working on his fifth novel. He has a monthly post on The Write Conversation and is trying to make a dent in his to-read bookcases. You can follow him at on his blog at www.timingreenville.com or on Twitter @TimSuddeth.