Writing, at least lately, seems to be about getting over the fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear that this book is going to suck and I should just quit and start over on the shiny new idea that is bouncing around in my head.
But I never face fear as fear. No, my fear is stealthy, sneaky, seductive. My fear procrastinates, my fear stresses, my fear distracts. Basically anything my fear can do to disguise itself and not call it fear, it does. Let me explain.
It’s 5:35am. I don’t have to get up until 6ish. But I’m awake. I think to myself ‘Hey, you should get up and get writing, get an early start to the day’. That sounds reasonable.
Excuse 1. But you don’t know what to wear.
Pathetic, I know, but…sorta. I’m substitute teacher for my day job and sometimes don’t get called in. So it’s a jeans and t-shirt day, a comfy bra sorta day, a nobody-is-going-to-see-me day. Okay, yes, it’s sad.
Moving on. I finally get dressed (in something I can change out of quickly) and suddenly remember THE LIST. This is actually…
Excuse 2. I have a zillion things to do
BEFORE I can write.
This one is particularly henious. I can waste DAYS like this. Blog posts, twitter schedules, ancient Viking undead and weaponry…FACEBOOK! The ways to waste time in the name of preparing is
literally endless. This doesn’t even include housework or necessary social interaction so I’m not the lady rocking in the corner yelling about marketing and stinky cheese when I’m in the old folks home.
This leads, inevitably, to the next excuse.
Excuse 3. I AM OVERWHELMED!
Yes, cue the swelling music and the southern-belle-swoon attitude. I know my inner Diva is feeling under-appreciated when this comes out. I feel choked. I CAN NOT WRITE! It’s like a kid with medicine. NO NO NO NO NO!
Eventually, I coax myself into my chair at my desk only to find…
Excuse 4. There is too much clutter.
Seriously. I organize my change, color-code my pens, get out a highligher, an eraser, a ruler, a pencil and a rainbow selection of stickies EVEN THOUGH I WRITE ON A COMPUTER. Still, I cannot write.
So I do the only logical thing left to me. I move to the kitchen.
Excuse 5. There’s too much noise.
You think I’m trying to be funny, but I’m not. I plug in my earphones (seems logical, right?), and
boot up my tunes. This is not the boon to sanity it seems.
Excuse 6. I need the RIGHT
So an hour or two disappears as I search through the 4000 plus songs I have only to discover I don’t have the one RIGHT song and therefore must go online to the store to search out the songs that capture the mood I’m trying to achieve. I debate a goodly while about dishing out the sum demanded. Does my writing career really need this? Yes, damn it!
So, music achieved, writing space settled, supplies organized and to-do list conquered, fear must now attempt a frontal assault on my peace and quiet.
Excuse 7. Your writing will never be as good
as (insert fav author du jour), so
why even start?
I have tried various methods to argue this point with myself. Because I can’t not write. Because the stories are always there, have always been there. Because no one has to see it if it really sucks. Because you have to start somewhere. Every first draft is terrible. Because you don’t take dictation from Divinity, you take hints for directions…yadda yadda yadda. The one come back I can’t argue with? Because I sleep better at night. It’s true, I do sleep better if I’ve written. The more I write, the better I sleep, in fact.
Not to be outdone, my fear rallies.
Excuse 8. You’re never going to sell this.
Maybe. Scary to think of this fact. But writers do it all the time. And to be honest, that’s not why I write. I want to know how the story ends. I saw this character/world/problem and it interested me. I’m not a quitter. Not in my writing.
I finally managed to screw my courage to the sticking post, or whatever that saying is, and then, fear comes back strong with a one-two punch.
Excuse 9. Why write it down at all?
If all I want to do is see how it ends, then daydream. Doodle, make shadow puppets, anything else than write. Why write? Which is true, except that I have no confidence in my memory in order to re-tell my daydreams. I can’t evoke the emotions I was feeling at the time. I need to write it down so I can share it with someone else. Because stories are how I make sense of the world and my place in it.
Excuse 10. There is nothing new under
Maybe that’s true. But I haven’t heard everything under the sun, haven’t seen it, haven’t tried it. So my writing is my take on things, my opinions, my VOICE. Everyone deserves to be heard.