(photo by Tabitha Bird)
Disclaimer: As promised Writer's Wednesday debuts on my blog today. Also as promised there will be no talk of writing do and dont's. there are a million blogs that deal with that.
THIS is NOT that blog. Writer's Wednesday will talk about the kinds of things that debilitate us, scare us, inspire us and make us run for our pen.. or computer. The kinds of things that once someone else talks about up we all exhale quietly and say something like, "Thank god. I. Am. Not. Alone."
That said... let's get to it.
First topic off the bat- Fear.
(Yeah, I know, jump in the deep end, Tab. That's me. Deep End Tab :)
"Working writers aren't those who have eliminated their anxiety. They are the ones who keep scribbling while their hearts race and their stomach churns, and who mail manuscripts with trembling fingers."
~ Ralph Keyes.
Okay, now I'm going to be real honest. Fear is a writer's constant companion. There. I said it. The day I stopped expending time and energy trying to get rid of fear was the day I finally realized what it meant to be a writer.
For one reason or another every writer has periods of time where they CANNOT write. And I'm going to cut through all the excuses for why (the dog needed walking, your kitchen needed painting, your boss gave you overtime, you didn't feel ready, you had no ideas, nothing inspired you, everything inspired you, you didn't know where to start, you did know where to start, you'd made too many false starts) and just say it like it is. IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO FEAR.
I don't want to spend a lot of time discussing the various fears we writers have (I'll leave that for another post) but I do want to say that we all have them and if you get with yourself for five minutes and ask what's going on for you, what is behind all the excuses and writers block, you will most likely come up with your own loooong list.
If you were like me what you did when you discovered your fears was to try to get rid of them.
It's to be applauded.
But fear has a way of coming back. Example: I decided not to be afraid of the talent of various other writers and to simply be the best me I could be. Fabulous goal. Until the next time I read something from Uber Talented Writer Dude or Dudette. (she actually has a name. This is a true story, but I won't shame us both) I sat there reading her posts thinking, 'Crap! I will never be able to do that! Look what she did with 200 words! I couldn't do that with 200 000! (Yeah, come on. You have been there. Admit it :)
Once I'd stopped howling about how unfair life was not to have made me half the writer she was (and wasted a good portion of my allotted writing time to the self-depreciating cause) I re-read her post. Yep. I reread it. I decided that I was scared. The fear of not being good enough was real and unlikely to go anywhere by wishing it away. I was going to have to deal with it. AND here's how I dealt with it.
I USED IT.
That's right. (cue wild clapping... still waiting... okay... not coming :)
I used the fear to make a promise to myself. I was going to use this writer as a touch stone for my work. I was going to read her. Learn from her. And then compare the mechanics of her writing with mine. I turned the fear into a tool. This has become the single most proactive thing I've ever done for my writing. It stopped fear from being a debilitating thing and transformed it into the inspiration to write BETTER than I ever had before.
I strongly believe that the very thing that makes us better writer IS fear. FEAR USED WELL.
Ralph Keyes said it better than me (see, there's always someone :)
"The state you need to write
IS the state that others are paying large sums of money
to get rid of."
What about you? What do you do with your fear? Does it stop you, or inspire you?