bookgazing: (Default)
bookgazing ([personal profile] bookgazing) wrote2014-08-26 08:31 pm

Writing Fear

I am having the writing fear. I haven't done any kind of solo writing in maybe a month and a half :\ When I got over losing my job I thought 'Well, at least I'll be able to write a lot now.' and I determined to follow my writing heart dreams, but that is not quite working out... I have a lot of ideas, but when I think about actually making the words outside of my head I get hit by the feeling that they will be terrible, embarrassing, and illogical. So, I've been doing job applications and organising things which for me is like productive procrastination; both a way of getting things done and a bad habit of deferring my dreams.

I figured I probably need to actually write out that this is what I'm doing somewhere in order to stop doing it. Maybe that will work. Let's see!
nymeth: (Default)

[personal profile] nymeth 2014-08-26 08:12 pm (UTC)(link)
I've been reading Fair Play, as I told you, and one of the things that's striking me the most is how the two main characters describe going through periods of silence in their work - periods when they just can't get it done, and so they do other things, or do preliminary work that's actually necessary to their creative bursts. I'm interested in how the novel frames these silences neutrally, rather than as something destructive or a waste of time, and I've been wondering, these past few days, whether there's something here I can take away and use in my own life.

To be honest I still feel really pretentious/like a total poser when I compare, even in the privacy of my own head, what I do to actual creative work. But I've been trying to leave that aside and just take whatever I can use. I've been trying to allow myself to be comforted, because that's a rare enough thing. Of course that in a way it's facile to just go "Maybe periods of silence are not a bad thing; maybe I need to let go of wanting to be able to write all the time and of seeing periods when I don't as failures; maybe I need to ride the waves of my life" - especially because my silences are so often full of fear and angst, and it doesn't feel at all like they set the stage for the next burst of productivity. They're painful, which I'm not sure if neutral space is meant to be.

It's also really frustrating to go through one of these periods of being unable to write when for once you have time, which is such a rare thing in this life. I didn't write a lot the year I was unemployed. Very frequently, even today, I have writely emotional breakdowns that coincide with time off work. When I COULD be writing, I'm paralised instead. I suspect the two are not exactly unrelated, because more free time means more time spent in my own head allowing all those fears to grow. As much as I wish work took less of my time, I do need something that pulls me out of myself on occasion.

I have no solution other than to say you're not alone. This is frustrating and the timing is unfortunate, but be kind to yourself if you can. Also, you went through a hard thing - it would have a knock-on effect on my confidence if I were in your place. But: your words have never been horrible or embarrassing or illogical - you will believe this again one day. I guess that more than anything else, it helps me to know there's a rhythm to these things. Not writing when I could be writing doesn't mean I'll never again get the chance to write, or that I won't ever be able to do it when the timing is right and means that I can. The same is true for you. The fear will hopefully recede, and as you told me once "you will write again and you'll enjoy it and so will the people who read it." I give you those words back. This is clumsy and probably of no practical use whatsoever, but it is given with care.
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)

[personal profile] renay 2014-08-27 04:30 am (UTC)(link)
I second everything in this comment.

Writing Things Down

(Anonymous) 2014-08-27 08:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I quite like Neil Gaiman's advice... "You Write. You finish what you write." and then "once it's done, put it away until you can read it with new eyes". This might not help the fear but it might help the write something and then re-visit it and then (maybe) do so again and repeat until happy.

I don't do much creative writing any more but whenever I feel the urge I can go to my binder of "things" and read through scraps of ideas, started stories, finished poems or lyrics, etc. and I always get inspiration for the next something something. This collection has been building over decades (it even has stories I wrote when I was nine!) and some things I am proud of and some things I am not but at least it's there to remind me of the ideas I have had.

I am a consummate procrastinator and avoidance-tactitioner myself so I wonder if a not-exactly properly writing type of job might help? Like setting up a story board or fleshing out your characters backstory or plotting the beats? It might help to enthuse / inspire you too?


[identity profile] 2014-08-28 01:30 am (UTC)(link)
HUG. I identify with this so much. Sometimes when I'm feeling this way, I set myself a schedule: For the next month, I'll only do research; or, for the next month, I'll only do editing on old stuff; and the month after, I'll write [whatever my goal is]. (I love editing existing stuff. It is so much easier and more satisfying than writing brand new stuff.) This month has been a research month -- my favorite kind! I want to shriek with joy every time I learn some new awesome thing. Maybe have a research month!

(Anonymous) 2014-08-31 09:22 am (UTC)(link)
I have this. I hardly ever blog now and part of it is this - that whenever I write, I have to write something really amazing so that people will not see my one random post and think it's rubbish and just ignore it forever. In fact just writing that sounds ridiculous, but it seems the longer I leave it the worse it gets, yet somehow that isn't enough incentive for me to sit down and write something more frequently.

And Ana is right - you went through something that is really hard, and you will believe in yourself again. Perhaps try writing in a less public or private space for now? If the pressure is removed maybe you can return to what you've written in time and realize that it is not at all terrible, embarrassing, or illogical and does in fact reflect the intelligence and insight that you always display in your writing. :)


[identity profile] 2014-09-03 05:38 pm (UTC)(link)
I did an online writing course, quite early into deciding I would give writing a go. The intial exercises were all about condensing a story into 500 words. I was horrified at first - after all those years of academic verbiage! But in fact, it was incredibly useful to do. You learn more about how a story is put together when you do it like that than you ever would just barging into some sort of lengthy narrative. Plus, 500 words is sort of achievable, however you feel about yourself that day (at least I found it to be so). Now I always write in small chunks - they are much more controllable, somehow. If you are stuck still (and I hope very much you are now deep in flow!), it might be worth a try to start really small.

[identity profile] 2014-09-11 05:18 pm (UTC)(link)
I have no good advice, just hugs.