Thursday, 2 December 2010


What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

There is the obvious answer to this question, which is: I spend too much time on the internet. Facebook. Twitter. Forums. Pointless flash games. Solitaire. Heck, this blog can be a distraction, at times. Can I eliminate them? Yes. I'm not even particularly attached to any of them, aside from blogging. They're just things I do to pass the time (or put off my homework).

Then there is the less obvious answer, which is also the reason why I do the above things: I doubt. I fear. I run away. I hide. Writing is scary. Even though a lot of the time it's something I just do for myself, and it makes me feel better about life when I do it, there are the days when I stare at a blank page and nothing comes. On those days, I feel like the shittiest person alive. I ask myself what kind of loser can't think of a single word to put down on an empty page. How boring and stupid and unimaginative do you have to be to not have a single thought or idea to write down?

I avoid writing because I'm always afraid it will be one of those days. I'm terrified of being a failure, even if no one knows it but me. I attended a small writing workshop a few years ago, and the woman running it asked us each to take a few minutes to come up with an object to symbolize our writing style. We went around the room and shared what we chose and our reasons for it, and she made what seemed like pretty perceptive comments to everyone. I don't even remember what the object that I choose was. But I remember that almost immediately after I said it, the first words out of her mouth were "you're afraid." She elaborated on it beyond that, but all I really remember is how much effort I was putting into not crying. It was a little bit scary how easily she had seen right through me, and upsetting because now someone else knew that I was a failure.

Can I eliminate fear? No. Probably not. Can I face it? Yes. Can I make it something I only deal with when I have to, rather than every day? Yes. Yes I can.


Brett Henley said...

It's amazing how most writers share the same forms of paralysis, primarily self doubt and lack of confidence to create and not edit ourselves down.

Thanks for the great post!

pink said...

Oh, I hear you on the internet distractions!

Loud said...

+1 on fear and self-doubt. Also internet distractions.

Thauna said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and your words of encouragement. Oh that does seem to be something most of us struggle with. But we are acknowledging and that is the first step to overcoming, right?!?!? Yay!