20 May

Head-Butting Writer Fear...


I have this "thing" about spiders... I mean, I don't go catatonic or anything when I see one, and I can scoop a household invader into a plastic container and throw it outside to live a free and glorious life, but its hairy legs and mine should never meet if I want to stay out of an asylum...
So one day, I thought, you know, I should get over this "thing." I should face my fear head-on, or as best as could be mustered, and then I could be One with the creepy-crawlies. Long story, short, I took a guided tour through the Venezuelan jungle to meet up with those foot-long diameter Green-Bottle Blue tarantulas they have down there, where the guides use smoke to have them fall from the trees into big metal pans. Sad tale: the tour I picked went to an area they didn't inhabit, but I did get to see a 14-foot termite mound! Gad, I was itchy for days, just thinking about it!
Anyhoo, my pathetic point here is, don't flee from your fears and weaknesses. Endeavor to meet them head-on, and force yourself over and over to take on that fearful "thing" a) you know you're not good at, in fact, you suck it; and b) is your worst fear, your worst weakness, so if you eventually get comfortable with that "thing," everything less fearful than that will seem a complete cinch!
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Okay, B. J., you're nuts. The definition of Fear is to WANT to flee from said."
Yeah, yeah, I know, but consider this a game. If you finally tackle your worst fear about writing, you'll have a future of literary fearlessness! Nothing, from that point forward, will stand in your way.
Another example: the closest I get to sci-fi anything is watching Star Trek (Star Wars bores the heck out of me. Yeah, yeah, stop throwing rotten tomatoes at me, I'll just keep ducking), and I do NOT write sci-fi. Ever. Never. Like Never-Ever. So, I purposely decided to enter a writers contest where I was forced to write a sci-fi short story. Holy heck! Okay, now I'm sweating bricks! But once I stopped hyperventilating, and with major fingers-to-keyboard grunts and groans only a tennis player could appreciate, I ground out a tale, had a sci-fi-liking beta reader peruse it for the gaffes therein, and I submitted it... never to win, of course.
BUT my hesitancy on writing sci-fi basically dissolved. If I ever had to do it again, a lot of my former doubts were already washed away with that first scary attempt. I learned from my sci-fi beta reader some formation points about the genre, and in the attempt I grew as a wordsmith, returning to my preferred writing realm with far more confidence in my capabilities.
HOMEWORK: Write down your greatest weakness in writing, and decide to tackle it head-on, to drown that fear. Repeat the attempts until you've put that weakness in your rear-view mirror. 
NOTE: No one has to see those attempts. This is just you facing your greatest literary fear. You won't die doing this, but you WILL grow and be far less fearful. I promise you.
Remember what I've earlier said on this site: the art of writing is mostly psychological. That's why it's one of the most difficult métiers to undertake.
If you face overcoming your writing fears, like the bullies they are, they will dissolve quicker than you think, and you'll write into the future with the confidence you never thought you'd possess as a wordsmith.
P.S. I'm going to see those Venezuelan spiders before I croak. Just sayin'...

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