I've really been avoiding writing this post. I came up with several different topics, wrote some on each, and decided to write about quitting. How you might decide whether it's worth your while to discard what you've worked toward and start fresh. But it appears I still suffer from the same performance anxiety I always have, because when I think of actually crafting a post and submitting it for your consumption, I clench. It's the same with novels, short stories, articles, and even my resume. The only way I can write is to sneak up on myself, like I'm doing now.
So I thought I would examine that this week. And maybe next week. Possibly until I figure it out.
I know some of my online friends have a similar problem. Lots of ideas, great ideas, scenes written in the safe space between the ears, characters developed as if we remember them from another life. I'm sure every one of us has different reasons for the disconnect between thinking and doing, and here's my list (which assumes a natural talent for putting words on the page, because if that's not there then none of these will matter):
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Fear of exposure
- Scattered focus
- Personal subject matter
- Physical distractions
- Feeling undeserving
- Uncertainty of purpose
I could probably go on, but already a pattern has emerged. All of these things indicate an imbalance in the writer. And as I look at the list it seems very familiar, so I'm sure there is some internal reason these things came up. The fear of failure is probably universal, and there's tons of advice on how to overcome that particular fear. Fear of success might be more subtle, and in my case probably has to do with not knowing if I can sustain any success that comes my way. After all, I had what most would consider a huge success when I landed my agent, but the failure to get that first book published put me at my lowest point as a writer. Maybe that's something I can explore in the next post.
What would you add to this list? What holds you back?