Anywriter who spends any time thinking about showing their work to another person has likely felt fear. Unfortunately, that never goes away, according to the professionals who share tips.
I have already given my thoughts and book suggestions for getting the story written, but, obviously, there is more to learn. There is a deep connection between the fear of writing and good writing. Honestly, there should be a copy of “The Courage to Write” by Ralph Keyes (Henry Holt and Company, New York 1995) in the starter pack of every writer. You didn’t get the starter pack? Neither did I, but I did find the book at my local library. (And just in time.)
The book is at first a warm hand holding yours, telling you all is well, your fears are perfectly normal, and–more importantly–useful, then there are a ton of examples of writers finagling their way around their fears to produce words of worth. (And writers are pretty creative when it comes to finding a comfortable way to write. Prepare to be shocked and amazed!) If you find you are lacking the courage to put your work out there, please seek out this book before giving up on yourself.
“Trying to deny, avoid, numb, or eradicate the fear of writing is neither possible nor desirable. Anxiety is not only an inevitable part of the writing process but a necessary part. If you’re not scared, you’re not writing. No message in this book is more important. A state of anxiety is the writer’s natural habitat.”
While we are on the subject of fear, there is a book that is incredibly useful in detailing the physical manifestations of fear, and when and why you should listen to your body/brain warnings. “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker (Originally published by Little, Brown and Company in 1997, now updated and published by the author through Amazon 2010.) is also useful in lots of other ways to writers and other persons just trying to navigate the world in unsafe times, and nearly as important as a reminder for trusting your intuition. (Intuition is sister to Inspiration. Ignore either of them at your peril, for sisters do gossip.)
“‘No’ is a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who choses to not hear it is trying to control you.”
Gavin de Becker
Here are the other posts in this series:
- Butt in Chair
- The Monster in My Manuscript
- Take over the Literary World!
- When the Manuscript Goes Into the Garbage
- Fear is the Mind-Killer
- Grammar and Punctuation and Bears! Oh, My!
That’s it. All thirty-one pieces of art from Inktober. I framed them and put them above my desk.
It feels a bit weird, like I’m betraying my humble, working class heritage. We don’t go for vanity, or tootling your own horn, or any such drawing attention to yourself. I mean, they aren’t that good, and some of them a really bad. Nobody would buy them, and art is a waste of time, and you have to work hard to feed your family. I mean, you could put one or two of the best up, but not where anyone would see, except maybe family, who will love you anyway. You don’t want to get above yourself.
I turn fifty in a couple of months. My country is a dumpster fire. Human rights and social safety nets are being lost and cut like they’re made of tissue paper. (The really cheap stuff, from the dollar store.) Profit is God, and people are dying on it’s altar. Everybody I know is struggling to keep it together, sometimes just day-by-day. Including me.
I’m going to make Art. I’m going to draw and write my feelings. I spent thirty-one dollars at the dollar store for frames. I went to the library for books on graphic novel and comic book techniques. I’ve written three novels, have the notes for six more, and I’m going to keep working on them until they are ready to publish. I’m going to submit short stories to anthologies, and keep writing my blog, and… Keep screaming my words to the wind.
I don’t really know what else to do.
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Pablo Picasso
I’m completely fried, but wanted to check in. Thank you for all of the support and patience with me this month. I will try to get the useful posts up in November and December, along with pics of the costume I was working on.
Apparently, I’ve just added a graphic novel/comic series to next year’s agenda, because I didn’t have enough projects going on. Nice. It’s scripted, but I’ll be doing layout and pencils. Then I’ll have to ink, color and letter it, unless I hook an artist by the imagination or suddenly get rich enough to hire one. Yikes!
Happy writing, especially all of you NaNoWriMo participants! I’ll be cheering you from the sidelines!
I’m sure no Humans are worried that I missed a post last Monday. Hell, I didn’t even realize I had forgotten for about 36 hours. I have found the literal, figurative, metaphorical, and actual limit to my creativity.
Inktober and making-a-new-cosplay-for-my-daughter do not play well with others. I was able to edit for the first two weeks, along with helping some friends with other projects, but it all went sideways week three.
Honestly, I’ll be surprised if I get a post up next Monday, unless it’s just a stream of obscenities. I may post Nov 1st to prove I survived, or I will sleep all day. Thank goodness I didn’t commit to NaNoWriMo because of my strong commitment to editing my WIP. Good luck to those who are doing it!
Catch y’all on the flip side!
What the heck was I thinking? Committing to Inktober2017 was horribly naïve. I am so far out of my depth that the deep-sea fishes–the kind with running lights and glow lures–think I am stupid for risking this crush-depth. I mean, it’s fun, creative, and nerve-racking, and I’m getting to do things I haven’t done for DECADES, and I’m learning lots about myself…
Well, I guess I answered my own question. And I wouldn’t be the first artistic/creative person who switched mediums, or just found some days were better for different mediums. The stories are still there, on a low simmer, but so much creative effort is going into each piece of art that I don’t have any to spare. I am getting some editing done in the early am, so I still have a hand in. Struggling to get the beta reading done, and the helpful posts haven’t happened. Sorry.
So, I hope all of you have productive and creative weeks. I’ll get a handle on my schedule, one way or another. I hope the spin I gave the Franz Kafka quote (above) gives you a chuckle. My apologies to Terry Pratchett for his use of the “Five Exclamations of Madness,” and for stealing the newspaper idea.
Things I have accomplished today:
- Morning chores while overcoming shock.
- Decent try at working the day job.
- Afternoon errands.
- Evening meal and chores while watching the death toll rise.
- Inktober drawing while listening to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
- Shower beer. (This is an actual first.)
- Typing this…
Things that are absent from the list? Beta reading. The Low-Budget Writing posts. Crying, because I’m still numb with shock, and wondering how bad it’s going to get before it gets better, or if this is the new normal.
I have a new short story burbling. (Some of you might know this, if you’re on Facebook.) I know that every story is different, and I have already described them as soups or thunderstorms, but THIS one is different. This one is sapient. It’s a little troll or Gollum sitting on my shoulder, muttering to its self.
What is it doing? Grabbing at passing information, tossing some, tucking others away in its ragged clothes. What is it keeping? Anything having to do with Saturn’s moons, Titan and Enceladus. Some psychology, a little biology. It’s eyeballing my copy of
The Lucifer Effect” by Phillip Zimbardo, which I haven’t read yet. What are two things I’m positive it has? My memories of the movie “2010,” and my copy of Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror.”
I think it’s safe to say it’s going to be horror. I thought it would be a short story, but with the amount of information being hoarded, it may be a novella. To date, I have only received a short snippet of dialogue.
“Who the fuck harvests their dead teenaged daughter’s eggs, takes them along on an exploratory mission, then mixes one with random biologic samples from some frozen moon? That’s just… UGH!”
Cade shrugs. “Brilliant isn’t the same as stable.”
So, I guess I wait for the rest of the story to see where this goes, and I’m completely sure I’m in over my head.
Happy Writing, y’all!
I’ve got titan-sized thoughts shrugging their way through my brain matter. And this is the kind of shrugging that shoulders can do that also hold the Heavens and the Earth apart, so that we humans have a nice, comfy place to live. They’re important, humongous thoughts; FEAR, and COURAGE, PERSEVERANCE, and some LUST, too. My head aches from their shuddering footfalls and oversized, grabby hands. I’m alternating between attempts of fuzzy blanket naps and shoving more other-writer’s-blogs-about-writing into my head, hoping it will all coalesce into an overflowing, bounteous soup of Writerly Knowledge For Me To Share!
But, mostly it’s just a throbbing headache. Erg.
In more human-sized news, the notes for the Low-Budget Writing Program series is coming along nicely, so at some point I will be sharing something actually useful for new-ish writers. I get a piece of chocolate for useful posts, so I am super motivated!
I’ll have to admit that both general writing and revisions for my WIP haven’t been going well, and it’s not too surprising when you consider life, but I’ve seen these kinds of temporary blocks before (see attached pic), and just on the other side of them is writing-nirvana. The state of flow that makes writing as comfortable as slipping on your second favorite pair of pants. (The first favorite pair of pants being reading, of course.) I just have to find a decent sized crack to wedge some writing into, like opening a safe passage with the jaws-of-life, then more cracks naturally open up, and writing slips in. Or on, since I was using a pants metaphor. <sigh>
(I have been known to fall over while putting on pants, so, there is that.)