Hold on a second…this is no time to be hysterical…
As we edge into a new year, I find myself pondering my destiny as a writer. Several of the blog postings I read today discussed fear as a road block to writing and questioned what an individual’s biggest fear as a writer might be.
That got me to thinking: what is MY biggest fear as pertains to writing?
These days, I try not to let fear into my life so this was an interesting question to ponder. I spent way too many years being afraid of life until I taught myself that fear holds me back, so I finally made some pretty dramatic changes and kicked fear to the curb.
I’m not saying I’m never frightened…there are certainly things that scare me, like horror movies and jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. As a result, I avoid both.
But fear as a writer? I figured it must exist for me, however, I hadn’t given it a lot of thought before today. When I did allow myself to consider the possibility, I discovered that it was pretty easy to define:
My procrastinating tendencies will keep me from pounding away at the keyboard.
I took ten days off from the day job over the holidays, for the express purpose to write daily, and instead only wrote on two or three days. I justified my inability or unwillingness to put finger to key by telling myself that reading books on the craft of writing was part of my job description. Watching movies to study the three-act structure was a responsibility that could not be shirked. I told myself that my seat-of-the-pants NaNoWriMo experience had left me with a very rough draft and it was more important to read books on how to flush it out than it was to actually sit down and work on the damn thing.
All of those procrastination tools actually ARE part of the writer’s job description, but when I let them suck up every bit of time in my day, then I’m ignoring the most important job duty: writing.
I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions…I never seem to keep them, so why make them?
But I am a fan of goals.
They say it takes four to six weeks for a new “thing” to become an ingrained habit. Developing the daily writing habit can be an achievable goal, provided I don’t bite off more than I can chew. That means baby steps, people. You gotta crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run. Fifteen minutes a day seems like a good way for me to start crawling. As I start pulling myself up to stand, I’ll add time. When I’m ready to let go of the coffee table and take my first toddling steps, I’ll add more. And when I’m racing across the room, arms spread wide in imitation of an airplane, I’ll add even more.
But I still have to start somewhere. If I can’t find 15 minutes in a day to sit down and write something, then, frankly, I have no business calling myself a writer.
And if I’m never really a writer then fear wins.