Sort of. Maybe. And I still can’t type they next sentence out without agonizing over how flaky it sounds, but here goes: My writing process has become all about fear. And, okay, fear is something I’ve come to expect, but lately things have been getting out of control.
When I have no ideas, I’m worrying about finding ideas. Once I get ideas, I’m worrying about whether they’re good ideas. While I'm trying to turn those ideas into stories, I worry about the sound of the sentences and the structure of the opening paragraph (and the paragraph after that and the paragraph after that). I worry about word counts. I worry about editing. I worry about every single time I’ve failed before and all the ways I could fail this time. I worry about what I should be writing. I worry about what I shouldn’t be writing. And at some point I finally realized that all I was really worrying about was the finished product. I’d stopped caring about the process of actually writing.
The thing is, whether the finished story is any good or not won’t matter if I was absolutely miserable the entire time I was creating it. It’s not that I shouldn’t work to make my stories as well-written as I can, but whether other people see them as quality literature or not isn’t up to me. And instead of beating myself up for all the stories that never quite took off, I should be glad that I somehow worked up the courage to try writing them at all.
I’m not sure how I’ll fix this. For now I’m trying to ease back into writing regularly (I haven’t had much time for that this semester) and trying to enjoy just putting words on the page. Thinking in terms of process instead of product pretty much goes against my entire nature, and I don’t think I’ll ever master it. At least I’m finally trying. I want to quit seeing writing as something I have to do and start seeing it as something I have the privilege of doing. I want to write joyfully. Otherwise, what’s the point?
(Also, I just looked back over some old posts and saw that I've complained about my fear of failure in at least every other post on writing I've ever published. I didn't plan on this becoming a running theme on my blog, but here we are.)
Picture via Pinterest.