From FRAB to Fab (part 2): finding the fears that hold you back
Last Monday, I introduced the nasty FRAB–or Fear-Related Artistic Block. A lot of you responded well–either in the comments, via twitter, or by email. Thank you for all your replies. It honestly bolsters ME to know that I’m not alone with these nasty ol’ FRABs, and your personal stories and feedback also help me guide how I approach the rest of this series.
(Also, you might notice I changed the series’ name. I didn’t not come up with that amazing new name–it was crafted by the wildly clever Diyana Wan. THANK YOU, DIYANA!!)
To summarize last week’s post: Sometimes our creative flow gets cramped (or maybe–if you’re like me–it’s not just sometimes but oftentimes) and the cause isn’t just laziness or a simple I-don’t-know-what-comes-next-in-my-project. The culprit that keeps us from getting our stories on the page or our hearts on the canvas is that old, always-lurking enemy: fear.
Before you read on (and potentially waste your precious creative time), head back to my first post and run through the checklist–just to make sure you even have a FRAB. If you already know or suspect that fear is holding you back, then read on–because this week, we’re finding our fears.
And we’re not just finding the fears–we’re articulating them and getting really up-close-and-personal. If we don’t know which fears we have festering inside, we can’t make friends them…
Yeah, you read that right:
We’re not fighting our FRABs.
We’re making friends with them.
I used to be all about “punching fear in the face.” I used to think that facing a fear head-on and telling it to piss off was the best way to power ahead. I thought that if you smashed a fear hard enough beneath your boot heel, the triumph of proving a fear wrong would be enough to banish the fear forever.
Nope. Sorry. Not the case at all.
When you fight your fears by dismissing them or pretending you’re not afraid at all, you’re only brushing the fear beneath the rug. Temporarily. It’s like that one closet that everyone has*–you know the one where all your junk goes? That’s getting fuller and messier every time you crack the door to stuff in something else? One of these days, though, the closet will overfloweth, and when you crack open the door to hide one more unsightly sock or doggie chew toy before the guests arrive, the closet will reach its tipping-point…and an avalanche of stuff will crush you beneath its messy vengeance.
Obviously, the closet filled with stuff is a metaphor for that place we try to stash away all our fears. Now I’m not talking about your arachnophobia or your fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth (which is a thing–no joke–that’s called arachibutyrophobia). I’m talking about those deep fears that have to do with yourself. With your place in the world and how people perceive you. Those are the fears that can leave you so crippled with self-doubt, you want to vomit or cry or break something or maybe just huddle beneath a blanket and never face the world again.
Note: if you don’t have any fears like that or have already managed to deal with them, then why are you reading this post? You obviously don’t have any FRABs to befriend, and I am infinitely, infinitely jealous of your unwavering confidence. And you know what? Go. You. Rock that confidence–and maybe I’ll soon see you on the other side.
But if you’re reading this, I’m assuming you have at least one gut-wrenching self-doubt–probably more than one. Most humans do. It’s both normal and totally okay. In western culture, though, we tend to glorify the tough guys. “Suck it up” or “don’t be a pussy” or “get over it” have been said to me more times than I can count. Worse, I’ve even said it before–to myself or to others.
Fear is seen as weakness, and no one wants weakness. “You should be strong” is what we’re taught, and as a result, many of us fake it until we make it.
But in my own desperation to be seen as “tough enough”–to fake confidence and strength until I start to feel them–I have spent my whole life shrugging off things that upset me. Smiling when I want to cry. Forcing a laugh when things I work really hard for fall through.
Yeah, well, thirty years of doing that hasn’t worked out so well for me. (Has it worked for you? If so, then see the note above.) The fears I think I’ve conquered, the zen and inner peace I thought I’ve honed–they always come roaring back eventually. Twice as loud and twice as mean.
I’ve tried rationalizing my fears too. And I’ve had plenty of other people try to rationalize my fears for me. But rationalization is really just another form of fighting a fear–of telling a fear it isn’t valid and to go back whence it came. But fears aren’t rational, so how could trying to rationalize them–trying to force them into submission via logic–ever possibly work? It certainly hasn’t for me.
And I know I am not the only person like this. As a culture, we have gotten really good at saying, “No problem”, that we start to believe that lie ourselves. But it doesn’t change the fact that oftentimes there is a problem.
So this week, to get to the bottom of our FRABs and keep them from popping up and hindering our creative flow, we’re going to figure out WHAT fears are stopping us in the first place. To start, I’ll share some basic fears.
Take note of any you suspect (or know) you might have.
Some General Fears
- I am a failure–everything I try to do fails. As such, any new project I attempt will inevitably fail like all the others.
- Everyone does this better than I do it.
- I have no idea what I’m doing and one of these days, everyone is going to figure out that I’m just a fraud.
- I have bad luck and that’s all I deserve.
- Everyone thinks I’m a hack and they’re all laughing at me behind my back.
- I’ll never get it right/perfect, and people will know.
- I am wasting my time that should be used on something with guaranteed results.
- No one cares what I think.
Contextualizing Those Fears in the Writing World:
- I am a crappy writer and no matter how hard I try, I still suck. Why bother writing a new book just to watch it fail like all the others?
- Everyone writes better stories than I do. Why even try? I’ll never be as good as them.
- I don’t deserve the success I have. One of these days, everyone will realize it and my house of cards will topple.
- My book has flopped/been rejected again/been overlooked by my publisher/etc., and that’s all I deserve because my book is crap. I am crap.
- Everyone thinks my writing is terrible and they’re all laughing at me behind my back–or saying I don’t deserve the success I have.
- I will never get this story perfect–be it the characters or the world or the research–and people will call me on it. There’s no point in even trying.
- I am wasting my time and should abandon writing in favor of a “real job”.
- No one cares what I think and no one will ever want to read what I have to say.
Obviously, this list is not even close to exhaustive. These are just the fears that popped in my mind as I was making this post. What other fears are out there? What fears do YOU have? If you’re willing to share in the comments, I’d love to hear them.
Or you can always email me privately: susan @ susandennard . com
OR, just make a list on your own.
From FRAB to Fab: Homework Assignment 2
1. Got your mission statement(s) from last week ready? Good. Pull it out. Look at it. Memorize it. It’s your fuel, remember?
2. Look over the list of fears above. Look at each fear closely and look at them honestly. Do you recognize any of them? All of them perhaps? If you have any fears that aren’t on the list, write them down (or share them in the comments/via email so I can add them to my list).
Also: think long and hard about this stuff. Spend time on it and dig so deep that it makes your chest hurt and your heart feel awfully exposed. Then, whenever you feel like turning away from the discomfort, look at your mission statement(s), remember why you’re doing this, and then dig a little deeper. You can do this. Get those fears on the paper.
And remember that these don’t have to be artistic-based fears. If you’re feeling brave, you can explore any personal fears that you think are holding you back.
3. Have you ever or do you currently deal with your fears by trying to fight or rationalize them? Has that worked well for you? Or have these fears that you thought you’d conquered only come back to nag at you later in life?
This week’s assignment is probably the hardest because it requires some uncomfortable self-honesty. But it’s worth it. I can tell you from personal experience that the payoff–that goal you set in your mission statement–can happen. So stay strong and then head to the next post, in which I finally show you how to do this FRAB-friend-making stuff.
*If you don’t have one of those closets or drawers or little nooks in your living space, then you’re clearly an alien.
January 20, 2014 @ 4:24 pm
Let me just start out by saying that you blogging these posts about writing fears is amazing. It’s something that isn’t mentioned or acknowledged very much and it’s something that is… hard.
When you’re someone who dreams of being an author who’s struggling completely to work towards that goal, but still falling short, you begin to wonder if “maybe this dream is hooey”. You start to think it just might be that you don’t have enough talent or even enough drive as the people who have made it. After keeping on keeping on and repeatedly falling short- FAILING- the second guessing continues. “This isn’t even fun anymore. Everything I try to write is horrid. Why am I doing this?” You begin to wonder if maybe you shouldn’t be doing this… Maybe you were wrong about writing.
Next you “take a break”. But even though you’re not writing, you can’t bring yourself to think too hard about what you would do instead, because doing that just… Like I said, you don’t think about it.
However, something else is in your thoughts still. The chattering of dialogue, sketches of characters, story pieces and weavings… You can’t help but click on a few Pinterest pics that fit those ideas perfectly. You can’t help but scribble out a plot twist, jot down a backstory. You pile up more and more and you don’t even know why you’re doing it, because remember “you’re not up to this. You just don’t have the ___ you need to be an author.”
Still, you collect, imagine, dream… and avoid starting even one word of a draft. (Shameful, I know, but you called for honesty so… there it is: I can’t even start- let alone FINISH- a first draft.)
Susan, I’ve become a broken-story-horder in the worst way. I feel like I’m hiding in my house with all these “concepts” stacked to the ceiling, teetering boxes and cobwebs. Some I want so badly to take out and begin to actually use, but there are those fears:
That I’m just fooling myself.
That starting to write has become the same thing as starting to fail. (Again.)
That it won’t be the enjoyment, thrill, or pleasure that it used to be. It will only be anxiety, stress, pressure, and discouragement.
I’m sorry for the length of this comment (whoops) and that it’s so… negative. Really, I am okay. ^^ This topic you’ve starting on, though, really touches on something I’m going through right now. Thankfully, I can still be creative and have an outlet through art, but writing is something that I’ve always wanted. Even though it does get discouraging, I am trying to continue to learn and grow in the craft of storytelling.
Thanks for listening.
January 20, 2014 @ 7:31 pm
Oh, Joni, I feel ALL of your pain. If not for deadlines, the old me would never have started a draft–and certainly never finished it. Something Strange and Deadly and its sequels were, until quite recently, the only books I had finished to “The End”. I had tons of false starts, tons of half-books, and even a few almost-finished tales…but the fear always stepped in–usually in the form of severe self-loathing and doubt. So know this: You are NOT alone. And I have no doubt many, many, *many* other writers feel and experience the same.
Also, never apologize for a long comment! I love reading what you all have to say, and since I can so closely relate to your situation, I appreciate the comment all the more. It’s nice for ME to know I’m not alone.
But I’m going to show you how to work through this, Joni. Next week, I have a post on not seeing your FRABs as the enemies, but instead “working with them” so to speak. And then after that, I’m doing a spin-off series on increasing productivity. Basically, all the tools I use to increase my output are also FANTASTIC at banishing the FRABs. So stay tuned; know you’re not alone; and kudos to you for having the bravery to acknowledge your FRABs. <3
January 20, 2014 @ 9:23 pm
There are how-to’s galore when it comes to the techniques of writing a book. Not that I’m ANYWHERE NEAR being an expert on these different methods (far far from it), but sometimes it feels like I’ve tried everything in attempt to wiggle passed those FRABs. It’s nice to have someone talk about this… I’ll be curiously awaiting your follow-up posts to read what your thoughts on this topic are. ^^
January 21, 2014 @ 6:42 pm
Joni — Did you read my diary?! Because this reads like a page out of my journal, creepy in that it’s almost verbatim, almost EXACTLY what I’m going through.
I’m plagued with the same doubts (“What if this is just a pipe dream?”, “Why would anyone read my stuff?”, “Everything I write is derivative / has been done before”, “My writing sucks / I suck”).
I’m hiding in my house, counting down the hours and dreading sundown, because once again, a whole day has gone by and my word count is pitiful.
I KNOW your pain.
We are in the same boat, my friend. And the seas are rough.
I feel like we should start a support group. I want for us to sight that guiding star and steer ourselves to shore.
Because I still have hope. It’s all I have left.
*reaching out over the astral plane to hold your hand*
January 21, 2014 @ 8:57 pm
We *could* make a support group. Being held accountable sometimes helps people reach their goals faster (which is part of why I think NaNo is such a huge success for many people).
ALSO, no more saying “my word count is pitiful.” As I’m going to talk about next week, your new approach is to say, “my word count isn’t what I wanted, and that’s okay.”
You might try making an easy, realistic daily goal (mine is 1000 words). I know that, even on a bad day, I can make 1000 words happen. Then when I reach it–every single day–I celebrate that I reached it. I’m proud, and I don’t put stress on myself to keep going (though I do keep going if I’m in the zone). Then I repeat the whole process again the next day.
Remember: if you make something routine, it’s not scary anymore. It’s just a part of your day, like brushing your teeth or making breakfast. 🙂
January 27, 2014 @ 3:45 pm
Diyana- thanks so much for replying and sharing. We shall continue to hope and press on together. As silly as it may sound, it is a comfort to know that others are going through the same problems/struggles/fears.
*reaching out, holding hand back* ^^
January 20, 2014 @ 7:13 pm
I can check mark each fear listed (with the exception of the one about the publisher, since I’m still a rookie and nowhere near anything like being published.) And you hit it all out of the park with these posts about fear. Fear is a a real thing and it’s extremely hard to overcome once you’ve come face-to-face with it. It’s one of those things that, if it were a real, tangible thing, I’d smack it around and repeatedly tell it, “No, no! Bad fear! Bad!” But it isn’t, so it’s something you have to fight within yourself and I know from my own personal experiences with fear (i.e. rejections galore!) that it’s not an easy task. I can honestly say that training a horse is WAY easier than dealing with the fear of rejection. It’s like you said above, fearing of people laughing at you, thinking your crap, all that behind your back (or in some cases, sending those rejections, even the nice ones) are all mind-numbing. I always tell myself as well to “Suck it up,” but that lasts for about 10 seconds, then I’m back to wimping out again. Give me a young horse and by the end of summer, I’ll have it trained for riding and leading, but each and every writing rejection, in any form, makes me want to hide in a corner and never turn my computer on again. Maybe I’m just better with horses than I am writing? 🙂
*Yes, I have that closet you speak of…and a few drawers…. Good gosh, why can’t it all just magically disappear?!?*
January 20, 2014 @ 7:34 pm
Oh, how I wish I knew about horses. (Don’t be surprised if I bug you for research help in that area!) But yeah, I can more easily jog a mile (which isn’t very easy for me at all) than I can fight my FRABs away. Which is why I’ve stopped fighting and am instead offering them olive branches. (I’ll talk more about that next week.)
For now, just know you’re not alone. Plus, if so many other writers can make it to where you want to be despite crippling FRABs (I would totally be on that list), then you absolutely can too. And thank you for chiming in, Lori. Your input the past 2 weeks has been heartening for me on a very personal level.
January 20, 2014 @ 9:37 pm
Ask me anything you want about horses! 🙂 Well, except Thoroughbreds (we’ve never raised any because they’re very hard to train and extremely expensive.) But I’ll help with anything else you may want to know 😉
You’re SO right. It’s so easy to endure the hardest thing we can do (jogging, horse training, etc.) and yet, find it WAY easier than facing FRAB. Crazy, isn’t it?! But I don’t handle rejection well because I take it so personally, as I’m sure most humans do (no matter what they want to admit to.) So yeah, I’d rather get tossed around by a young horse than to open up a rejection email. Anyday!
I’m so glad you’ve liked what input I’ve had because, honestly, this subject is so close to me and something that bothers me on a daily basis. I look forward to everything YOU have to add and hope I’ll find the magic that makes me overcome FRAB, and hope others will, too. You’re like my own teeny-tiny, blond-haired buddha. So wise…so wise 😉
January 21, 2014 @ 12:55 am
At this point, I feel like I know my fears pretty well…I’ve been rationalizing them, then watching them pop back up with vengeance for a very long time. My worst fear is probably #1 on your list. I have abandoned half finished ideas so many times that’s my sort of automatic assumption for all my new projects. I don’t have the guts, I don’t have what it takes, why am I kidding myself, of course I’ll give up, like always. I quelch this fear in the begininng, but when the going gets tough and I toss my idea, it comes roaring back.
The two other fears I struggle with most tie into this. I over-research, and then I panic when I exhaust the idea.
Over-research happens when I want to portray everything as accurately as possible, because I don’t want the real experts noticing my mistakes. In itself I think this is a good thing…but I go overboard obsessing over things and spending months researching, to the point were all the wonder and excitement I felt when I first began has been drained away. Then I get this horrible feeling of mediocrity, and I’m terrified that it will never go away. So far it usually hasn’t…maybe because I’ve really ruined the idea, or because I give up to fast, I’m not sure.
I also tend to rely on gut reactions rather than actually going out and finding inspiration. Like “I don’t feel chemistry between these characters. It ‘feels’ wrong. Why bother even trying this? I’ll fail, I just know it.” I don’t know how much attention I should pay to this particular bogey.
Ack, sorry for the length! I’m looking forward to next week’s post!
January 21, 2014 @ 9:02 pm
Ah, over-research. That’s a perfectionist’s FRAB–and I can totally relate. I’ll add it to the list.
As for exhausting an idea, it happens. A lot of shiny new ideas (SNIs) aren’t actually good enough to become full books. I have plenty of first chapters that I quickly realized I either didn’t actually want to write or that I didn’t want to write RIGHT NOW. If the mood strikes me again, I’ll go back to them. The key is in figuring out which projects ARE worth powering on with…and it’s hard to be able to tell if it’s just a case of “not enough spark” or a FRAB.
But hopefully working with the FRABs will help eliminate that issue, so that you’ll be able to tell if you’ve got the Wrong Idea or not. Also, maybe this post would help you: https://susandennard.com/2013/10/21/how-i-plan-a-book-part-4-coaxing-out-the-magical-cookies/
January 22, 2014 @ 10:44 pm
Yes, I am a rabid perfectionist! Thanks for the link, it was inspiring and helpful.
January 22, 2014 @ 5:06 am
I’ve just read this post for the first time, and I’m sure I’ll be reading it again before I tackle the assignment! But I just wanted to take the time to thank you for writing about FRAB. It’s seriously helpful to know that I’m not the only one experiencing this (now or in my lifetime), and I’m really positive that all the advice you’re sharing step by step will help me out of that bothersome place. Lots of love, Susan! <3
January 27, 2014 @ 5:58 pm
Alexa, you are so wonderful. You are DEFINITELY not alone in your experiences, and I hope what I say this week, next week, and in my follow-up series on increasing writing output help you work through whatever FRAB (or FRABs) is/are currently in your way.
January 23, 2014 @ 10:13 pm
I love this post so much I want to reach through the computer and give you a gigantic bear hug!! Once again, your honesty and transparency have come to the rescue- just in time to help everyone else. I know this might sound lame, but you are such a beautiful, wonderful, brave hero in my eyes- and I need you to know that!! I completely relate to having irrational fears. Gosh- there’s so much great stuff here, I don’t even know where to begin. The part about realizing that you shrug off things that upset you–smiling when you want to cry and forcing a laugh when you’re angry…that is so self-aware and so important to notice in ourselves. Because you’re right– stuffing the feelings only makes the larger problem worse. I’m always working on being self aware- giving myself permission to feel how I feel without judgment– being kind to myself–slowing down and remembering what truly matters in life and in this moment. And the part about worrying about other people’s judgment– Oh my gosh I love you so much for sharing- I could have written that too– It’s such a destructive and horrible thing to do to ourselves, really– and all we are doing is handing our inner power over to this nebulous outside source of “other people” and our imagined ideas of what they think. Ridiculous if you think about it! There is a quote that I read very recently and I love it, because it refers to our life/identity/journey as a “story” which is even more perfect for us, as authors to relate to. It is this: “You either walk inside your own story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” (~ Brene Brown) (I love her!) You know?? We don’t have to hustle around and prove our worthiness to anyone. We can be still inside and realize that we own it already. — You are awesome, Susan– I can’t wait to read the next post– I’m looking forward to making friends with the FRABS. <3 xo
January 27, 2014 @ 5:57 pm
Oh, Happy. I often forget (probably because of your name–and I’m sure you get that all the time) that you can’t always be bubbles and sunshine. You’re so upbeat whenever I talk to you–and I suppose *I’m* always upbeat to the world as well–but that doesn’t mean we don’t all suffer from crippling fears and FRABs.
I love that quote, btw. It reminds of an essay I read recently about “the Better You”–trying to be that Better You and those rare, wonderful moments when you and your Better You ARE one and the same. It’s not an external Better You we share with the world but our own private desire to be the best we can be.
I hope today’s post (and the final post next week) help some. <3 At least, it helps ME reading other peoples' stories. 🙂
January 26, 2014 @ 9:55 pm
I keep revisiting this page since you originally posted it and every time I start to write a comment I get all panicky, erase it and then do something else before creeping back to read the comments and see if someone’s articulated my fear better than me so I can just throw a “ditto” in without actually putting it into words because I know someone out there wants to say what I’m feeling and can do it better.
And that’s my anxiety in a nutshell. There are others, so many others, but that’s the biggest one. That I’ll do something and put in all this time and effort and then someone will do it better than me so why bother.
And for the record, the first time I read Joni’s comment I thought about asking her to split the rent because she’s clearly living in my headspace. Diyana you can get in on this too, maybe once we’ve spread it out it’ll be cheaper and we can just push through it.
Funnily enough, when I first started writing seriously again it was because I had joined an online book club and I made friends who were writers and then I found fanfiction and fictionpress and I had a community, but as everyone got older and left and stopped writing, it was harder for me to maintain my writing/to push through the fear.
Especially when the friends who stopped writing because it was a hobby were so much better than I am. And every time I think about looking for a new group/community I just get anxious all over again, because it’s one thing making friends in a writing community when you’re 15, but at 25 it feels almost impossible.
Even as I get ready to post this there’s this little voice in my head telling me not to bother, that it’s pointless and no one cares/I don’t have anything worthwhile to add and I think that’s going to be the hardest thing to beat.
January 27, 2014 @ 4:20 pm
I’m glad you didn’t listen to that voice (that lying voice) telling you not to bother commenting- because it is SO NOT POINTLESS. You’ve no idea how much it means to me to hear from other people who are going through the same fears/anxieties/FRABs. Jage, you sharing means more than you even know to me. Truly, truly.
Also, I don’t believe for a minute that you don’t have something worthwhile to share. I know, I can see you shaking your head, but while reading your comment- whenever I came across a sentence about how you “shouldn’t even bother because someone else will just do it better” I felt something rise up in me. No!- I want to read what YOU create. Only YOU can write “that Story”. You see and depict and write in a way that is completely uniquely you and without you sharing it (which I know you want to do, no matter how many lies those fears tell you) there’s something missing.
Are you ready for some more confessions? The little things would be that my spelling/grammar/typing isn’t so great. The big thing is that for the passed couple months I’ve been too frozen by discouraging doubt to write much of anything at all. To even START anything at all.
These stupid FRABs… They can be so frustrating and debilitating. Honestly, as timid as I can be I’m a little surprised how much I’ve shared in the comments. Like you, the beaten-up part of me wondered if there was any point to it. But I guess I’ve become a little desperate. HA!
Splitting the rent sounds like a good idea to me. ^^ Jage (and Diyana), I’m really glad that I’ve gotten to meet you and that you’ve shared some of where you’re at.
I’m cheering you both on- LOUDLY.
And, Susan, I’ve said it several times, but I’m saying it again. Thanks bunches and bunches for opening this topic.
January 28, 2014 @ 5:49 am
Thank you! Especially this part:
“No!- I want to read what YOU create. Only YOU can write “that Story”. You see and depict and write in a way that is completely uniquely you and without you sharing it (which I know you want to do, no matter how many lies those fears tell you) there’s something missing.”
Because that’s so true, but it’s so easy to just make the little things pile up and then the big one just seems so justified.
Good luck with your journey as well! It sounds cliché but like those self-help meetings always seem to show on TV, the first step is admitting you have a problem, but as this showed me it’s also one of the hardest.
January 27, 2014 @ 6:10 pm
First of all, my eyes bulged when you said “25” because I was expecting you to say something like “65”. And though I know me offering my story won’t help the fear, I still want to offer it anyway: I didn’t start “writing for real” or reaching out to the writing community until I was 25. Right on the nose, 6 months into my 25th year. And I never felt old or too late to join. 🙂 The great thing about writing is that you can do it until the day you die. I have wonderful author friends who are grandparents and wonderful author friends who just graduated from college. But again, I realize logic or others’ stories don’t banish the FRABs. That’s what today’s post and next week’s are for.
Second of all, I agree wholeheartedly with Joni: THANK YOU FOR WRITING YOUR COMMENT. Your fear is exactly like one I describe in today’s post (I fondly call the fear Humbert). I know Humber VERY well, and I have to embrace him as part of me every single day. Humbert and I had a little chat this morning, in fact. But just just as I wrote this morning DESPITE Humbert’s nagging (and that’s a critical step for me in dealing with the FRABs), writing your comment is an AWESOME step. You acknowledged the fear was there, thought through how it holds you back, and then you decided it was worth it leave a comment anyway. Hell. Yeah.
Third of all (and completely unrelated), Jage is the coolest name ever. I have NEVER heard that before, and I love it.
January 28, 2014 @ 5:44 am
haha, I know that it’s irrational, especially since it seems like most people meet their writer friends now, but since I had them and then they all sort of left, it just feels like going to a new school in the final year and trying all over again.
It’s funny, my decision to actively look to get published versus wishing and writing when the muse hit was in December, six months after I turn 25, lol.
I’m definitely going to look into some communities though (I think in your resources you mention a few links as well as some online writing classes) that I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a good fit as well as some great critique partners.
Thanks, Jage is a nickname, lol, although thanks to the internet I have bumped into a few people who use it as well.
October 12, 2014 @ 6:14 am
This has become my favourite series. I hate admitting my fears — even if unrealistic — to anyone and everyone. I have yet to start writing what I’ve so carefully planned out as an entire novel :/
April 7, 2015 @ 2:37 am
Ironically, I crashed through this RIGHT BESIDE the reasons I WANT TO WRITE my book!
Not fun :/ but good to do it with a precious book, right?
April 20, 2015 @ 6:18 pm
This assignment was hard. The first day I thought about doing a fear list. The second day I planned to do it, but then “had more important things to do” – you know, like the laundry, feeding my partner and the cats, folding socks. Third day I put “writing fear list” down on a page then needed to get coffee, needed to watch the cats bathing each other (it was super adorable), needed a glass of water to wash down the coffee…
But I went back and did it. Many of the fears you name showed up on my list, with various pieces of “proof” for why I should believe them. Like I had, my past successes & praise were accidents/people just being nice/because the completion set an extremely low bar with specific examples to back it all up.
The fears I had that didn’t show up on your list are:
– The ideas won’t keep coming when I write/my novel will never fully come together
– The lines/images/details I think are good at the time aren’t. Tomorrow they will look like the crap they really are.
– I’m a flawed person and failure. What do I have to contribute?
– Dreams don’t come true in real life. Why think it will be different for me? If I lived in ancient Greece and believed in the Gods, this one would be something like “The Gods gave me the dream to become a published writer only to laugh as I fail.”
– I’ll never fully move past my crushing self-doubts/thin skin around critiques. That proves a writer’s life can never be for me.
– I don’t have the right to speak other people’s truths. People will recognize this and lash out against me and my work (I want to write about Africa. I’m an American. What gives me the right?).
– What do I have to say that a million smarter writers haven’t already said
Ug. My stomach clenches up just naming this stuff. I’ve tried to ignore, silence, rationalize. I turn to my friends and partner and they talk me out of them. I make lists of things to do that will make me feel better, and set about ticking items off the list (yoga, running, a walk, cooking good food, zoning out on netflix). All of this works for a time, but they always come back in various iterations. The times I feel the best I can label these as unhelpful thoughts, acknowledge that they are there and real, but then not pay too much attention to them. Meditation/yoga especially help me get to that place.
May 19, 2015 @ 4:07 pm
Hey Tiffany! Sorry for the slow response. I wanted to make sure I had time to give you a thoughtful reply — and I haven’t had that time until now.
-I thought you might like to know that I am 1000% feeling all the same fears you feel. Right now, I feel them.
-I’m terrified my current book won’t come together into a novel.
-I’m scared that all the stuff I wrote today will get ditched tomorrow when I realize it was wrong, wrong, BAD.
-I’m scared I am so flawed and SUCH a fake. Everyone will realize it soon.
-I’m scared that my publishing career is doomed. It’ll crash and burn any day now, and then I’ll never be able to sell another book.
-I’m terrified of what my CPs and editor will say about this current cluterf*** that is my book. They’re all going to tell me it’s terrible and to start over…and how will I DEAL with that?
-I’m scared that people will dislike how I’ve handled diversity and persecution in my current series. I’m bracing for when they start calling me out on my last series. I *tried* — I tried REALLY hard — but how can I possibly get it right? What right do I have?
-How can I possibly compete or stand out in the current publishing world. My first series faded into oblivion. Is the same thing going to happen with my new one?
So yeah. Those are my fears. They block me at every turn right now, and the only thing that’s keeping me afloat is BICHOK. I can’t even embrace the fears right now because a deadline is breathing down my neck and I’m afraid if I pause to emotionally DEAL with stuff, I’ll miss that deadline.
Oh — look at that. Another fear. 😉
My point is: your not alone. And if I can feel this stuff and keep going (albeit at a snail’s pace) then you can too. <3