I did make a New Year’s Eve resolution to blog here more often, so I think I’m doing pretty well so far, don’t you think? I used to journal everyday over at LiveJournal, so I’m not sure how I got out of the habit, but I blame social media. However, thanks to Neil Gaiman’s post about the very same thing, I wanted to try it for myself.
So today, I’m writing about my greatest fear, at least when it comes to writing. It’s a pretty simple one and sometimes even keeps me from sitting down to write because it’s so strong. I usually have to fight it and beat it into submission and only then can I do what I need to do.
So what is this fear? It’s a fear of the words not coming. And it happens every time I try to write something. It’s not so bad when I’m writing articles for DVICE (because, fortunately, most of those are based on other things I’ve read and news that’s been reported). And it doesn’t usually come when I’m blogging, either here or at FanGirlConfessions. This fear is particularly strong and nerve-wracking when I sit down to work on a short story or novel. For some reason, just before I get ready for my day’s writing sprint, I break out in a cold sweat and ask the question to end all questions (and to end all writing): “What if the words don’t come?”
Yes, I’m terrified that the next time I sit down to work on a novel, I’ll be blank and have no ideas and will stare at a blank page for the rest of eternity. It’s absolutely crazy and yet, it’s the scariest thing I can think of to happen. Has it happened to me? Of course not. Is it irrational? Probably. I’m a writer – there are always words. But I somehow think that someday those words will magically run away from me. Like they’ll just float away and I’ll never be able to create another story again.
I usually have to fight hard to get over that feeling, but the most important thing that I can do to kill it is to do what I fear: write. Once I start typing and the words begin to come out, the fear goes away as if it never existed. This is particularly true when I’m working on a first draft, because I just let the words flow, even if they don’t make sense (I subscribe to the Draft Zero philosophy). The words always come and by the time I’m done, I feel fine. Even if I know that fear will return the very next day. But then I’ll write again and it will go away. It’s a never-ending cycle.
Do other authors feel this way? Probably. In fact, I would count on it. And I suppose they probably get over it the same way I do: by writing.
So if you ever get to that point where you don’t think you can do something, the most important thing you can do is to just do it.