The Constant Fear of Being Broke


It’s BE BRAVE FRIDAY and I’m trying to reach beyond my comfort zone a bit in writing by working on:

  2. A revision of a novel of middle graders that I’ve decided isn’t good enough yet. It has a lady of the lake in it, only she’s the last one, and she’s a kid.
  3. Another adult novel that’s um . . . I have no elevator pitch for it yet. But it has magic and firefighters, which is pretty cool mashup, right?

And I’ve been painting.

And trying to think of new ways to make income because I came from poor and going back there worries me sometimes, so that’s not cool, right? That means I’m working from a place of fear and not in a positive way, which makes me think of this quote.

“Bravery is the audacity to be unhindered by failures, and to walk with freedom, strength, and hope, in the face of the things unknown.”

Morgan Harper Nichols

Morgan Harper Nichols is a mixed-media artist that you should check out.

There’s a great post on MEDIUM about the fear of being broke and where it comes from especially when it comes from places that aren’t the same as mine (living in the car for a bit, government cheese, people always calling my mom because of credit card debt, my poor mom crying).

I guess there’s the evolutionary (pop) theory that these are our caveman instincts on display enforcing vigilance in anticipation of the cataclysmic event that knocks us off of our professional pedestals. (But recall that fear inhibits the right side of our brain and hence our creativity and problem solving skills.) Or maybe it’s the way we confuse financial security and meaning? Or that our stress is a perverted relationship with time?

Khe Hy

Wow. Right?

And then Khe goes deeper because he’s a good writer/thinker.

We amplify losses, dismiss wins

There’s a financial concept called negative convexity. In layman’s terms it describes a security that tends to lose more than it can gain. So tails, I lose; heads I win, but not as much. You can see this at play with these flop house predictions. Yes, The losses are amplified, but we’re also too quick to dismiss the wins.

Professor, author, polymath (and longtime RadReader) Adam Grant spoke about this phenomenon on the Farnam Street podcast:

”I don’t think we’re very good at mental time travel. When something goes wrong, we amplify it and catastrophize it — it starts to feel like it’s “the worst thing that ever happened to me” yet in rare cases it is. That’s stiff competition. For something to be the worst thing that ever happened to you of all the bad things that have ever occurred to you in your life — this has to be the worst. The odds are, it’s not the worst thing.

So, obviously, I’m a tiny bit hindered when it comes to my fear of not making an income–or enough of an income–or having it all dry up. And that? Well, it’s probably not too healthy. But I don’t like government cheese and living in a car. And I don’t want to ever be there again.

Khe Hy

Again–wow. Us writers do this all the time, we absolutely let the negative feedback beat the positive, hyper-focusing on one potentially negative word in a glowing review. It’s part of the reason that I give feedback to my clients in the rah-rah empowering (hopefully) way that I do.

But we don’t need to do that focus on the negative word. We don’t need to catastrophize or focus on the worst-case scenario all the time. We don’t need to live in fear.

I have to learn this especially when it comes to earning money because it’s limiting me from taking big risks and trying out new ideas.

But I’m working on it! And speaking of things I’m working on, here’s a painting!

You can see the super messy easel and the basement wall beyond. This painting goes with my magic/firefighters novel. Almost all my paintings have to do with my novels, and lately all of them have an angel hidden somewhere.

In some wild future, I hope to have enough time (where I’m not working) to learn as much about painting as I do about writing, but I’m trying to learn slowly, step by step, you know? And right now, it just brings me joy to work in image instead of always in words.


It’s my weekly wrap-up, and it’s been such a week that I almost spelled that rap-up. That kind of would have been cooler, honestly.

Shaun totally forgets to blog, so you might want to check this old one out.

I blog about our poor fence and the poor trees that keep come smashing down.

On Write Better Now, it’s all about backstory.

On Carrie Does Poetry, I read the story of my life, “Everything Makes Us Scared.”

This week’s humorous, but yummy recipe didn’t exist because it was a week. But you can check out Microwave Raspberry Sauce of Wordle and Wine.

On Dogs are Smarter Than People, we talk about how feeling worthy is complete B.S.

And our live podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, we talk about the the strange things people compete about.

And if you haven’t checked it out yet, my author interview with Tony Quintana on Dogs are Smarter Than People’s bonus edition.


One of the writers I’m working with is Stubhy Pandav and he’s got a great video right here that you all should check out. He’s a phenomenal singer and artist.



Over on Medium and my social media, I post motivating daily thoughts from my animals. On Medium (and only on Medium), I post poems that I’ve written (usually) twice a week. You should check it out! And clap or something so I can make $1 over there this month. 🙂 I actually made $12 this month. Woot!

How About You?

There you go! And how are you doing? Are you hanging in? Being brave? Thinking thoughts? Sharing new things?


It’s called THE PEOPLE WHO LEAVE and it’s the latest installment of the Dude series. Shaun (the husband) and I are currently arguing about whether it’s the last installment. I say yes. He says no. Feel free to weigh in if you’ve been reading it.

Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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