1,764. That’s how many Pinterest pins I have related to writing. Why so many? Ummm because I was hiding out instead of getting started. I was spending my time thinking about all the “stuff.” The website, the ideas, the plans, the aesthetics. All these things matter, but if I’m not actually writing anything to support any of this then it doesn’t matter so much. I was being creative, not productive, there’s a difference. Jeff Goins talks about it in his book You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One).
As Jeff puts it: “ This is dangerous territory when your creativity hijacks your productivity.”
For every (mature) person, there comes a point where we step back and take a hard look at why we do what we do. So, I did. And all signs pointed to FEAR. What does fear look like, how do you recognize it? More often than not fear looks like over analyzing and procrastination.
From the moment I decided to become a writer, I had a million ideas and just as many plans. I had big plans for my big dreams. I did copious amounts of research Pinterest, Google, you name it I read it. To a degree, it was research, until it crossed the line into analysis paralysis. I spent so much time figuring it out and no time making it happen.
Stalling can look like a lot of things, but mostly it looks like perusing social media, online shopping or futzing with the look of my website. It also looked like cleaning. Yes, even cleaning the bathroom sounded better than getting to work and actually writing.
So what am I afraid of? Well, lots of things.
It’s not good enough
This is a fundamental issue for all writer’s. We worry whether our writing is good and if it’s good enough. Writers are their own enemies. We write and edit, rinse and repeat. But no matter how much we edit it never seems good enough. I agonized over the first piece I ever wrote. After writing it, I read and edited it 100 times before I could not look at it again. I finally hit send. Not only was it accepted to the blog submitted it to, but it was also picked up for publication by ABC news.
As any writer knows, rejection comes with the territory. I’m sure it’s in the job description somewhere. Some of the greatest works of literature were rejected by publishers, which I wrote about here. What I need to keep in mind here is that it’s not me, and it’s not personal. Every writer has been rejected at one point or another. The goal is to pick myself up, dust myself off and carry on.
Fear of running out of ideas
I’m not sure about others but this is oddly one of my fears. During my analysis paralysis stage, I made many, many notes. I have lists upon lists of article ideas and ideas for my book. I also have an irrational fear of what happens when I check off those lists and exhaust my idea bank. What if I can’t come up with new ideas? File that under strange, but true.
Imposter Syndrome Is Real
Imposter syndrome is something I think a lot of new writers face. It is something I think about frequently. Every so often I wonder what am I thinking, I’m a stay at home mom, not a writer. Another great takeaway from Jeff’s book is claiming the title. If being a writer is what I found at the end of my soul search then I need to shout it from the rooftops. Or at least put it in caps on my social media profile. The point is, if I want it, I need to own it.
A Step In The Right Direction…
Just the other day I had a physical therapy appointment, my therapist asked me what I did. For the first time EVER I said: “I’m a writer.” April 23rd, 2018. I’ll never forget it.