Don’t Pour Arsenic on Your Dreams

Sometimes I suffer from “chicken little syndrome.” For the unfamiliar, it’s a children’s story where a chicken believes the sky is falling because an acorn fell on her head. The chicken then goes around to a bunch of other animals and tells them, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” As a marketing content writer, freelance journalist, and ghostwriter for therapists, I fall into this trap frequently when I have a lighter work week. 

Business has its ebbs and flows but somehow I always interpret an ebb as a sign of the times, not a natural part of the cycle. However, I can take comfort from Chicken Little because there are multiple versions of the Chicken Little story. In one version, Chicken Little and all her friends are lured to a fox’s den and never seen again. In another, they tell a king their worry and the king reassures them the sky is not falling, plucking an acorn from Chicken Little’s head.

acorn -- marketing content writer
Who knew something so little could cause such a ruckus? Photo by Nicolas Ruiz on Unsplash

Remembering there are multiple versions of Chicken Little offers me perspective.  I could be like Chicken Little and let my fear lead me to a metaphorical fox’s den where I’ll be devoured. Or I could be like Chicken Little and let my fear lead me to a metaphorical palace where I’ll be reassured. The choice is mine and not at all a foregone conclusion.

Tosha Silver talks about this choice in her book Outrageous Openness. She says she offers her problems to a power greater than herself and that doing so is like planting a seedling. “You put the fledging roots into the soil, and then fertilize and water to allow for flowering,” she writes. “The more you protect the plant, the better it grows. So would you pour arsenic on that delicate thing to see if it could survive? Would you stick it in [the] burning sun for a week just as an experiment?” Good question, Tosha. Real-life plants I would never pour arsenic over, nor would I stick them in the burning sun without any water. But metaphorical plants? In this case, my faith, hopes, and dreams? I do pour arsenic on them. A frequent refrain in my mind is, “It won’t work out! Everything will crash and burn!” But, well, it doesn’t and hasn’t.

brown bottle
Pretend this is arsenic. Photo by Denise Chan on Unsplash

I’ve worked as a marketing content writer, freelance journalist, and ghostwriter for therapists for a while now and every time one client drops off, another one comes on. Every time I fret I’ll never write for a certain magazine again, they contact me about an assignment. Maybe it’s time to stop drinking the poison I keep offering myself and instead marvel at how things work out. Because they always do! 

How does this relate to clients? My current clients already took the leap of faith and said, “Yes! I want to work with you! I think it will help me!” Potential clients are often nervous and have numerous questions about ghostwriting.  Will it work for them? Will it actually help their business? I can give them tons of stats and case studies and testimonials to show that it does but ultimately the decision has to come from them. Do they want to be Chicken Little? Do they want to pour arsenic over their dreams? Or would they rather believe that everything works out?

I’m a pragmatic marketing content writer, freelance journalist, and ghostwriter for therapists so that means we always start with a paid sample or a one-off project so really, what is there to lose? If you’d like to give hiring me a shot, reach out. I’m here.

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