My editor over at Women2Women Michigan, where I have a semi-monthly column titled Don’t Tell My Wife I Wrote This, sent me an article from another writer in which I was introduced to the term “FOMO.” FOMO, for you of the uninformed persuasion, is Fear of Missing Out. Though the infliction has existed since the dawn of dawn, it has spiked feverishly since the inception of social network sites. Specifically, it’s the feeling you get whenever you check your facebook page and see all the great stuff that much cooler people than you are involved with. You are immediately overcome with FOMO and are certain that no one has a more depressing existence than you, not even the Executive Producers at MSNBC.
Writers, it would seem, suffer even deeper levels of FOMO. Whereas the average Normal suffers FOMO stage 1 or 2, the average Writer probably sinks to a level 6 or 7. Partly because we’re being obedient to the bloggers who insist that we become engaged with our readers and market profusely, even though our first book is at least two decades from publication, but my careful research indicates that our real FOMO issue rests in the fact that every other writer on our friends list is much more talented than we and possesses a work ethic that would make Zig Ziggler look like a slacker with a drug problem.
Honestly, a quick glance at my facebook page reveals that Super G just wrote ten-thousand words while attending her son’s graduation, Ronie Kendig is interviewing Navy Seals for her next project, Robin Miller is finishing up book number 5 this week, and fellow Oxfordite Mark Terry’s 19 year-old son whipped up and published book 2 of his series during spring break.
Yes, FOMO is hitting me hard. Surely, if all my writerbuds can do all the writerly stuff that is expected of them day and and day out, I should be doing it, too. Obviously, my problem isn’t FOMO, it’s FOMA–Flat On My Asterisk.
Fear not, my fellow FOMOdians. There is a cure. First of all, keep in mind that all of your friends are liars. They suffer from FOMO as well so they feel the need to embellish their status updates a bit. By the way, they’re fiction writers. They’re good at this.
Second, the status update is a five second snapshot of their day. With the exception of a few relatives who seem suspended forever in their fifteenth year, most people don’t post about the pile of dishes, the hour long commute, the thing the cat just horked up, etc. Trust me, their lives suck, too.
Thirdly, we all have our own pace. Yes, Robin and Ronie write at a pace faster than most med students can read. Others, myself included, tend to labor over one sentence for several days. I think that’s why Super G enlisted me in her once in a lifetime 90 day trial period as her partner in crime writing. With the semi-annual chapters I send her to critique, she has plenty of time for dancing (yes, really…I don’t understand it either). By the way, for those of you seeking writing partners, that pacing thing is important. Make sure your partner is as easily distracted by shiny objects and ice-cream runs as you are.
Finally, my friends, here’s a thought: put down the facebook app and step away. Yes, I fear Jesus will return and I won’t be the first to “share” it, too. It’ll be okay. At least He’ll find you writing, hopefully about Him (this counts).
So don’t let FOMO get the best of you. Sit down, fire up the Gateway Pentium, and ignore your friends who are at concerts, sipping umbrella drinks in Maui, or deciding between the 5 book contract with Zondervon or the 3 book contract with Tyndale.
You’re writing. Trust me, everyone else is missing out. Now back to my daily 20,000 word goal.