Thursday, July 06, 2006

does it scare you?


i'm afraid of every chapter, every page, every paragraph.

and i'm not talking horror.

the fear has been with me for so many years that i actually forgot it existed. like an old dusty pen lying on the floor in the corner of the living room. i got used to it, and pretty soon i didn't notice it anymore. pretty soon i thought it was supposed to be there.

but today i was suddenly aware of the fear for some odd reason. something from the past -- an old memory -- brought it to my attention. and i realized the fear has always been there. from the very beginning. unchanged, unwavering, silently watching from the corner.

28 comments:

Kelly Parra said...

Yes. =) I've been forcing myself to write with this looming deadline and I think every word sucks. I'm afraid it's not going to be any good, especially because it was bought before it was written. Scary, this fear.

bekbek said...

I feel this way about the things I'm not creating. Like sometime all the desire to create, unsatisfied, will finally have had enough of me and rise up to swallow me whole.

It's what I have blankets for. I can always hide, can't I?

jason evans said...

Fear forgotten is fear conquered.

Until it's remembered.

angie said...

I've spent an inordinate amount of time getting freaked & have blabbed incessantly about it. It is weird how I can go along & everything's peachy & then I remember to be afraid. Ick. At least you've relegated your fear to the corner! I'm considering giving my writing anxiety a name. Maybe something like Barney or Ethel.

anne frasier said...

kelly, sounds like you have a good critique partner which would have to help, but it's weird how getting paid before the book is written changes everything. and it's completely internal.

bekbek, i've experienced something similar -- the fearthat if you don't use it it will go away and never come back.

the shape of fear is constantly changing. there's also the fear of failure. i don't have much patience for that fear.

jason, i like that. is it yours?

anne frasier said...

angie: and then you can kick barney or ethel in the ass.
;)

i think fear is always there for everybody. it might actually be part of the process. part of the electricity.

jason evans said...

Yes, it's mine. Inspired by your post, of course. ;)

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Yeah, I know this fear. I'd like to say that it's a driver for me, gets me off my ass in an effort to conquer it and get the stories out there. But it isn't. It's so easy for it to devolve into that self loathing that says who the hell am I to think I can write a book? Or a short story, or a Christmas card, or a form letter.

I find myself having to mentally put my fingers in my ears and go "Lalalalalalalala" while I type. Otherwise, I'd just sit in my office all day and play computer games.

Jeff said...

You're not alone in this feeling, Anne. I have it from the moment I sit down in front of a blank page. It stays with me throughout the entire story until at last its close companion insecurity joins up to double-team me.
I try to tell myself to use the fear as a motivator and not a hinderance, but that's a lot easier to say than do.

Jer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jer said...

I act as if nothing scares me--my M.O. But lately, outside of work, I've been writing only comedy--stand-up and sketch. I'm scared the audience will say, "Was that supposed to be funny?" Or even worse, "That was cute."

Bill Cameron said...

I fear your terror, Anne, as it seems is the destiny of artists everywhere. In fact, I think we need it!

I have a friend who paints who mentioned that once she started getting lots of shows, to the point that she had to produce a lot of work fast, she began to rely on her facility with the mechanics of painting. Her paintings are thus often lovely, but they don't challenge her personally. She has said that she really misses the tension and anxiety that comes with pushing herself artistically, and so every now and then she has to pull away from painting for the gallery and return to painting for herself.

Our fear, I think, demonstrates that we're pushing ourselves. It's a good thing, even if it doesn't always feel good.

Flood said...

I always worry that it's not the words that get my ideas across but the spaces between my words. Am I writing what I mean? Are the points clear? Am I deluding myself about writing?

Mostly I worry about scaring myself out of my goals. It's exhausting, but it's nice to know that even someone who has been in the game for a while feels the same way. Thank you.

anne frasier said...

jason, i thought maybe that was from a famous poem i should know. ;)

stephen and jeff: and i think the longer you don't write, the harder it is to face the fear. maybe that's what's really behind this writing every day advice.

jer: that was funny! :D i never thought about fear of cute.

bill, i love this:

"Our fear, I think, demonstrates that we're pushing ourselves. It's a good thing, even if it doesn't always feel good."

that's very comforting.

flood: i did some blog hopping, and it seems other writers are also talking about fear and insecurity. it's everywhere!

and i know what you mean about worrying that you might scare yourself out of your goals. i've felt that, and it's certainly the extremely negative side of fear.

Tami said...

I agree with everyone here. I think you need the fear to push you to create. Every time I sit down to write, I have a fear that I am not showing things how I see it in my head, or no one will even understand what I am trying to show.

Bill, just like your friend I had the same problem with painting. I had a few showings and people who would request drawings/paintings from me. When I did the work for myself or because I had an idea, the work flurished even with my fears (which are the same as they are with my writing.) When it was something that was commissioned, I tried to plow through it, not having that same passion or feeling as my other work. Sad, but true. I fear the day (if it ever comes) that I am paid to write something BEFORE the book is written.

angie said...

Fear does not push me, pull me or otherwise incite me to write - although it does sometimes create such incredible tension that I have to do SOMETHING to get it to back off and give me some breathing room.

I'm sticking with the Ethel plan. It's a lot harder to take it seriously with a name like Ethel, and I feel more confident that I can kick her ass instead of letting her kick mine.

Jaye Wells said...

It's almost comforting to know that this fear is so prevalant. Makes me feel like I'm on the right track.

anne said...

tami: it is different once you're under contract, but probably not like a commissioned painting. with writing, the idea is usually the writer's idea to begin with. although there is that constant struggle to find the middle ground, the balance between what you want to write and what your editor is especting.

angie; from now on i will replace the word fear with the word ethel. my next bookcover could say something like: what's your greatest ethel?

jaye: i agree about it being almost comforting!

Shesawriter said...

The fear you're talking about has been HUGE in my writing life lately. I'm starting a new proposal, and I'm a starting to wonder if I can even write anymore. My brain is full of fog and the words aren't coming, so instead of staring at a blank page, I've dug into research and HOW-TO books. It's pathetic.

angie said...

Yeah, and I want a cut of the action when you sell an extra hundred thou thanks to Ethel!

Truthfully, when I'm able to see how silly I'm being I can usually start moving past the, er, Ethel. Come on, how can you take her seriously when she's hanging out talking smack in a rattty old bathrobe, pink platic curlers in her hair & fluffy purple slippers? Yeah, sometimes she likes to dress up like the Big Bad, but she's still just Ethel in disguise.

anne frasier said...

tanya: (hug)

i really think all writers go through what you're talking about. i've been there and quit writing for a year because of it. sometimes it takes time for that well to refill, but it does come back.

angie: perhaps a comic strip....

Sandra Ruttan said...

Yes, and I think when you go through gaps when you don't write, the fear gets nastier and comes out of the corner and starts taunting you.

I can't wait to write my next ms. It's like covering your ears, sticking your tongue out and saying na-na-na-na to the fear until it goes off sulking.

anne frasier said...

sandra, you and stephen have a similar method of fighting it. he says lalalalala though. i'm thinking a government study is in order.

jason evans said...

That a cool picture, BTW. I like the patterns in the leaves and sky beyond.

anne frasier said...

jason, that was the coolest tree. i have to go back to get a better shot. it was taken at the dog park, and right when i was ready to take the shot, some huge dog came out of nowhere and started jumping all over me. i had to finally give up. the pic came out okay, but not as interesting as it should have been. then to one side there was a weird stone. someone had added a layer of cement so it made a seat. i guess so you could just sit and stare at the warty tree.

jason evans said...

It looks like a red maple by the bark. I didn't know those were favored by the greys to incubate their alien young. Those look seriously pregnant.

Seriously, though, I would like to see your other treatments of it without the canine smack-down.

Chris Everheart said...

Anne, you're scaring the hell out of me with this post (I get nightmares, no kidding.)

But you made me laugh outloud with your comment on my blog.

Thanks. I needed that.
Chris

anne frasier said...

jason, the tree is a freak -- that's for sure. i don't know what kind of tree it was. too much going on! :D

chris -- you really need to do something about the weenie situation. i think it's your obligation to the world.