How Fear Can Still the Keyboard

by on 08.19.2009

in quotes

As I spent seven hours a few days ago, reading weird websites and finding ways to waste my time, I realized that I was avoiding writing out of fear.  Fear of what?  That I’m just not good enough.  I’m not good enough to pull it off, my writing isn’t good enough to be published, I’ll ruin this awesome story just begging to get out.  I actually had to walk away from a WIP I had 1/4 of finished because I psyched myself out that bad.  I’ll go back to it later, but for now, we–the manuscript and I–need some distance.

But, I’m not the only writer to be afraid to write.  In fact, it’s so common, it’s nearly cliche.  Except that it’s a real problem, and cliche or not, we’ve all got to find a way to quiet those personal demons or, at least, tell them to shut up so we can move on.

Angela Booth suggests:

Get a writing buddy, or join a writing class, where the emphasis is on writing, rather than critiquing. When you’re writing in a group, there’s a group energy which makes it easier to write.

Join a group which doesn’t critique. Very few people know how to critique writing, and for a new writer, critiques aren’t helpful. In fact a critique may stop you writing for months or years when you’re suffering writing anxiety.

This actually happened to me, recently.  The critiques were great, and they did help.  But it got to a point, I guess, where I felt I *had* to make changes and then the changes became so huge and overwhelming that I just… became paralyzed.

Brian Clark wrote an excellent article about what it is we fear when we’re to afraid to write.  We’re all afraid of basically the same things–the trick is pushing past it.  I think I quoted here once something someone wrote on a forum:

Fear makes us life’s whiny little bitches.

That always gets me moving because, honestly?  I don’t want to be anyone’s bitch.  And I definitely don’t want to be a whiny bitch.

I’ll leave you with a link to the wonderful Cherry Forums.  An entire thread (8 pages) of some awesome writers talking about just this: What are you afraid of?

And, with that, I’ve procrastinated enough.  Time to go write.  Bite me, fear.

Update:  The writing is going very well.  I love that once you push past the scary, it’s so much freaking fun.  So, 18 pages of backstory–so far– good times.  I’m trying to ignore what I still don’t know about these characters.  Process is scary, as a matter of fact.

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