Facing Writing Fears

Unnamed Fears can paralyze writing

“Crunch time” is here for those of you celebrating Christmas. Hanukkah holidays are at the fever pitch. Solstice is here, along with the darkest days, making shopping or even just leaving work a dark affair. Soon will come the new year, and a chance to rest. Whew! I can’t wait.

Despite my earlier post about “Butt in Chair,” I haven’t been able to write as much as I’d like. Or need. The creeping doubts have returned, niggling at the corners of my mind, telling me if I were “a real writer,” I’d be writing 2000 words a day, every day, holidays or no. Ergo, I must not be a “real writer.”

Sarah Hans’s latest post has a similar theme. She’s feeling pressure to top, or at least match, her latest success, which is her first story in a pro market. And over at Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing podcast site, Mur talks about Imposter Syndrome, or that feeling that “the whole world will soon figure out what a fake I really am.”

So, what is it about right now that has so many writers shaking in their shoes?

Yeah, the economy is stinky, and most markets don’t pay diddly. And yeah, the holidays are here, so ‘interviews’ with relatives–or the fear of those interviews–makes many of us gun-shy. After all, is there anything worse than ‘dear Aunt Martha’ or ‘snappish brother Egan’ asking in ‘that tone of voice,’ “When are you going to start doing something worthwhile with your time. Something that will make some money?”

But for me, it’s more than that. I’ve been stepping up my writing involvement. This blog is one step on that path. It’s connected me to many others, and that’s changed me, too. Over at Sue Healy’s blog, I learned about launching ships, her metaphor for sending out stories for publication, or rejection. And I’ve decided to increase the number of ‘ships’ I have at sea because of thinking on this. For me, that’s a big commitment, a serious ‘act of faith’ that I will succeed, and a letting go of control.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about Clarion and Clarion West, and whether or not I should apply. Talk about commitment! I’m not sure if I’m crazy-good or crazy-insane for even thinking about it! Am I ready? Will I ever be? What if I’m not accepted? What if I am?!? It’s another source of fear.

What it all comes down to is that Imposter Syndrome, or fear of rejection. Personal rejection. Fear of failure painting me as a failure, not just my work. Combined with lack of sleep, holiday stress and dark-day depressions, well, it’s amazing any of us get any writing done at all!

So, after the holidays are done and you think about the new year, I hope you’ll join me in congratulating yourself for all the things you did right in 2011. Celebrate all your victories, however small. Let the fear in, then let it go. It isn’t you. Remember, we write not for the money, or the glory (thank goodness!), but because we enjoy it.

Then, let yourself enjoy some writing.

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About M.E. Garber

I'm an itinerant Ohio-born speculative fiction writer now living in north central Florida.
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7 Responses to Facing Writing Fears

  1. venomousharridan says:

    Oh, the dreaded Imposter Syndrome! I know it well.

    Nice blog!

    Like

  2. Me says:

    Good advice!! Just remember to follow it.

    Like

  3. Scriptor Obscura says:

    I love this post. I can really relate to this!

    Like

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