Monday, November 28, 2011

Why Are You So Scared??

Many thanks to Penny, who made me experience waves of heavy guilt for neglecting The Backstory for so long. Actually, Penny, I have a good excuse ... I was writing millions of words for my latest WorkInProgress. I have been doing my own version of NaNoWriMo, I like to call: WriteAsMuchAsYouPossiblyCanAndAttemptToStayOffOfFacebookAndTwitter.

Getting the work done can be daunting for a lot of reasons. But I have decided that the biggest reason has got to be fear. Not the DougCleggDeanKoontzStephenKing-imposed kind of fear. I'm talking about the scaredy-pants kind that is much more terrifying, and comes in a variety of shape-shifting forms.

Writer fears tend to multiply because you have time to sit back on your WriterCouch and let those anxieties swirl about and fester. These can develop into bonafide nightmares.

You have to refuse to let these paralyze your writer selves. I will address some of the most common ones.

One of my favorites is Fear
of Becoming the Crazy Cat Lady. That's a very real fear; I know this from personal experience, because I have been called that by various family members. Writing means you are left alone for hours at a time with no human conversation. But this can actually work in your favor. My cat is awesome. He lets me read my WIP out loud to him and he doesn't check his text messages. Sometimes he even sticks around for the whole chapter.

Another common one is fear of never finishing your manuscript, or worse ... only being able to finish it in TwitterSpeak, which basically amounts to pages of disjointed paragraphs of 140 characters or less. Show up to your WriterCouch. Punch the time clock. It'll get done.

Yet another one that is so unbearable to many writers and would-be writers that it is often uttered no louder than a faint whisper: FearThatSomeoneWillStealMyIdea. Sadly, there are those who find plagiarism to be an acceptable form of behavior/sport. But unless there is some really cool X-Files Mind Feed thing going on, and unless you are actually tweeting your 140 character paragraphs, nobody is going to steal your story. And nobody can ever steal your Voice. It's your writer fingerprint. It's impossible. And as far as I know, Milli Vanilli is long gone, or in some abandoned cave somewhere being forced to listen to a continuous loop of one-hit wonders.

So ... put down that People Magazine crossword, open up that laptop, and punch that time card. Write that book. You. Can. Do. It.

What is your biggest writer fear? Put it in the comment section, and I will round up some of my FabulousWriterFriends to help you chase them away.