Is ‘Snail Syndrome’ a thing?

I’m sure you’re all aware of the notion of ‘Imposter Syndrome’ by now, that issue suffered by a crazily high proportion of us, convinced we do not belong where we are in terms of position, seniority, career, or even hobby. The feeling that we’re really all just killing time, waiting for the hand on the shoulder, the whisper in the ear, that we’re done playing this game now, and could we please tidy our desks and let the real professionals take over? Well, recently, another syndrome has started plaguing my poor brain, and as I cannot find an official term, I’m going to go with ‘Snail Syndrome’.

black and brown snail shell on beige textile

Thanks to writing groups, and Facebook, I’m now in touch with so many writers, of all genres, styles and demographics, and I love reading about their success, I truly do. It is wonderful to be surrounded, albeit partly virtually, by successful creative types, for bouncing ideas about on aspects of writing, cheering each other on when things go well, and, let’s be honest, to have a bit of a rant with when things don’t. But there is one teensy, tiny negative, for me at least. Seeing everyone’s latest posts about their new releases does, in part, make me feel ever-so-slightly inadequate. Like I should be keeping up, when there are times I feel I’m not even on the same race-track.

I do know this is ridiculous, and that in 2018 I wrote one full novel and three short stories for new projects, and yet, I cannot shift the feeling that I should be, and indeed want to be, doing more, and more quickly. It isn’t just pretend-competition with other writers either, it’s against myself. Over Christmas, I looked over the list of current or planned projects, every idea that’s come into my mind and seemed good enough to spend some time on. There were 19 lines. I have a feeling that even if I spent every spare waking moment I have on them, I’ll never reach the end. Ideas have a habit of creeping up on you whilst you’re not looking, after all.

focus photography of black ballpoint pen on ticker

What’s frustrating is that I have no clue what the cure for Snail Syndrome might be, other than unfriending and unfollowing every writer I’m connected to on social media, and really, where’s the fun in that? I’m planning on spending some time today writing my detailed writing plans for 2019, what I want to achieve, and how to go about it, and am seriously going to try and think about running my own race, rather than worrying about what anyone else is doing, however hard that seems as I type it!

I’d love to know if I’m alone in this madness, or are other writers out there thinking the same thing? How do you handle it? Yes, I appreciate one response might be “stop blogging and get back to the novel”, so um, on that note, TTFN!


6 thoughts on “Is ‘Snail Syndrome’ a thing?

  1. Well, Jen, over the last three years I’ve had three books published – but hold on, don’t cut me adrift! The first of those books, The Art of Murder, was begun in about 2012 and only came out in 2016,so no rush. The second one, The House at Ladywell, was first written in 1996, abandoned and then revamped over a couple of years and finally published in 2017, while the third book, The Convalescent Corpse, was started in 2014 and I skipped between all three books until that last one came out last November. All pretty snaily, don’t you agree?
    I know what you mean though but what I stress about most is the feeling that I’m a snaily tortoise when it comes to Twitter and promotion.
    My New Year Resolution, such as it is, is not to get so wound up about it all. The next book will probably get written, though I don’t know when,and I’ll continue to Tweet and post and generally pootle about the internet but – the crucial difference is – I won’t let myself have nightmares about not keeping up with other authors. I’ll do it all in my own good time and let the hares leap and race past me in *their* own time!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If ‘snail syndrome’ isnt a thing yet then it should be. The only way is to acknowledge that other people have different calls on their time, different priorities to you. Neither is right or wrong. As for cutting down on the social media static I’m afraid I don’t have a magic answer. I want to hear other people’s successes but you’re right, it does add to the feeling that your own writing is falling behind. Good luck with your plans for 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Apparently, there are two types of personality and motivation types among athletes: one that is focused on being competitive and rankings, the other that is just focused on mastering their discipline and being the best they can be. No prizes for guessing the type that is more prone to taking drugs, and which type tends to be happier in the long run!

    Just focus on being good by your own standards and circumstances, but don’t beat yourself up if you compare yourself to others from time to time, it’s only human!

    Liked by 1 person

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