Tag Archives: fear

Fear. What is yours?

31 Jul


Fear is the emotion that stops us in our tracks, prevents us from being what we truly want to be, stops us from being great.

I know many writers out there that have fear. They can’t share their work, and as a result it sits there, hidden away, never to be read by another.

I don’t have that fear. I have another one that I believe to be more crippling, and I wonder if any of you suffer the same?

I have never worried about sharing my work. In fact, the first time I wrote anything under the guise of ‘learning to be a writer’, I shared it within the children’s writing lecture that took place two days later. This was within my first two weeks at university.

I am the creature that writes and shares before it has undergone the first edits. I believe in my writing that strongly, that I know if something has ‘legs’ as the words are typed. If it is a struggle, it is wrong.

Of course editing is required, but I just want to share with everyone my latest piece of work. I am proud of what I do, and for that, I have no shame.

I explore genres, techniques, nothing is out-of-bounds. There is no limits to what I can do (and you for that matter). Writing is not just the setting down of a story, it is an experiment, a journey. One which cannot be taken without risks.

I identify my strengths, my weaknesses and I use them equally. Quietly pushing myself for the next challenge.

It is when thinking about that next challenge that I experience the fear. It’s like stepping off the cliff face. What if, just consider this for one moment, what if this time my self belief has blinded me. What if, my safety net, the one that slows my process when it is not simply great, does not catch me?

As I have said before, I do not plan. I do not sit there etching it all out, character bibles, plotting, synopsis, sub plots and the rest before beginning. Oh I think, I think a lot, generally starting with one idea and stretching it across, exploring within my mind the possibilities before I start. It is rare I make notes during this process. I have always believed if the idea has ‘legs’ the story will carry itself. Finalising details, checking the  story arc is there, ensuring character consistency is there all comes later. I believe many call this first part of what i do ‘passion’. I write because I feel it inside, a story bursting, a want, a release of emotions.

When I sit down to write, I already know if this is a script, short story, or hopefully the latest bestselling novel. When I try to fight this (see the disaster that was the uncompleted No Way Out Challenge) it grates, it physically hurts, and I feel myself hiding from the crowds. The only situation I can liken this to was taking my son to school when he begged not to go (I pulled him out eventually but that’s another story).

Fear is where I stand now. I have three ideas. all workable. two are scripts, one a novel. The daredevil in me is shouting try the novel. Not only have i never completed a full novel, the idea formulating is romance based, chick lit if you prefer. I have never written chick lit. The scripts are comedy based again, so they feel safe. I am still driven by my confidence in my previous one. Yet that could have just been fluke. Either way, what if I have lost my ability? What if I am the one hit wonder?

So tell me, what is your fear? What is the part of you that makes your writing career stutter?

***Without sounding conceited I am not a one hit wonder. I know this from professional feedback. Likewise I have not as yet been successful. I have not previously completed a novel as each one I have started has been abandoned due to other commitments at that time. The fear I speak of prevents me returning as it is the same psychological thought process***

Writers Wobble

8 Feb

Writers Wobble, that is the name I am giving to my current state of mind.

I have posted my intentions, the first buzz of the project has passed, and it is time to begin. I read the comments with intrigue, some of the questions asked were the same as I had already considered, and then bam, the wobble begins.

What if this project does not have enough strength to it? What if I do not have it in me to complete this? (even with your help) What if I get midway and give up?

I think that last thought is the one we fear the most. That fear we may have to walk away, and the consideration that perhaps rather than let ourselves down, we just don’t bother starting.

And we may have to walk away. I think this is one of the hardest things that writers must come to terms with. Sometimes, the idea just wont work, no matter how hard you work at it. Maybe it is too complex, maybe just too simple, or maybe the timing is just wrong. Until you get going you won’t know, and that is why you mustn’t quit too soon.

Writers wobble is definitely real. You must not underestimate it. Those of us with oodles of belief in our writing may not suffer with it as strongly, those that perhaps lack the confidence could potentially allow it to destroy a real passion before the fire has truly been ignited.

It doesn’t go away either. I know many writers that hold off sharing their work, for many reasons, but ultimately it is that wobble, that fear. Ask them what they are worried about and they don’t know. For most they understand it is irrational, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

I do believe the wobble is greater the longer you leave it between projects. I also believe that without at least a momentary wobble, your writing shows an air of arrogance (or maybe that’s wishful thinking – just let me have that one as i reassure myself that the wobble state is a worthwhile tool for us writers).

So how do you get through writers wobble? Have you any tips as to how this can be put to good use?

Coming up this week – I answer the questions and pose more in response to your comments following the start of the project found here.