Sunday, 5 May 2013

Sunday Check-in: Writing Scared

It happened again yesterday. I put it off as long as I could. I surfed the 'net; I did some housework; I shopped; I looked after hubby and toddler; but always in the back of my mind was the niggling thought "Tonight I have to write four pages of foolscap AT LEAST".

And that scared me.

Image couresy of Wiki Commons

The fear is always there, but it's particularly strong if I miss a day or two of writing writing (i.e. not worldbuilding, character profiling, or plotting). I'm afraid of sitting down and nothing happening. No words appearing for me to write. I am afraid of not writing, so a part of me thinks if I don't show up to write, then I won't feel the loss and disappointment that the writing didn't come, because I wasn't there for it not to come.

Does that make sense?

Yet, not showing up is a deliberate 'not writing', the very thing I'm afraid of!

I named this blog Stepping Stones for a reason, and the url is not by chance, either: it was all about taking small steps, one step at a time. It was about being calm and relaxed. Not rushing, not putting myself under pressure.

All I have to do is show up. And I need to make a distinction between showing up and the end result. The end result has nothing to do with me (that's Inspiration, or the Divine, or the Muse) but the showing up? That's when the ball is firmly in my court and I can either come onto the court and play the game or walk away. My choice.

Showing up is very easy, really. It's simply sitting down and picking up the pen. It's daydreaming about my characters and their story. I'ts listening to my playlist and letting the music lull me further into the story. It's thinking about the possible twists and turns the story can take. It's about allowing myself to be inspired. Giving myself the opportunity to be inspired, regardless of whether or not the inspiration turns up in the end.

I don't expect the fear will ever go away. But I don't have to let it stop me from sitting down and picking up my pen.

Showing up. That's my job. That's all I have to do.

And let the results take care of themselves.

Gotta remember that. :)

Image courtesy of hotblack at


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Lauralynn. Sometimes it feels like it, but I'm sure I can't be the only writer who feels like this... :)

      Hope your own writing is going well.

  2. Such a good point! I haven't done any "real" writing apart from my short Story a Day stories this week, and I'm feeling guilty about it, but I continue to... not. And I know the longer I leave it, the harder it'll be to get back.

    1. Yup, that's it exactly. The longer I don't write, the more I'm afraid I CAN'T write. . Butt in chair. That's all we have to do.

      Best of luck with A Story A Day. :)

  3. Ah yes! Those self-fulfilling prophecies.... I do the exact same thing. Now I tell myself "Just sit down and write five sentences"--I mean, how much can you screw up by writing five sentences? At the worst you have the characters sit down to discuss the latest news. Or you have them brushing their teeth...

    Either way, you're getting your head into theirs. Simply trying to write someone else doing an action your perform daily without much thought makes you have to chance gears. Do you think about your next day's plans when you brush your teeth? Does your MC? Is s/he looking in the mirror? CAN s/he brush his teeth now, does s/he need a toothbrush? Why is s/he brushing her/his teeth?

    You get the point. It's all a matter of getting the words flowing. It's rather like that clogged drain... get the water flowing again and only something big with stop it.

    Keep writing. Don't let fear stop you from that. Or from throwing away the practice/starting pieces....

    1. Thanks, Mouse. You've reminded me of something I tried last month and completely forgot about in the whirlwind of reaching the 25K for Camp NaNo and the wide-eyed apprehension of reaching 25K this month - short bursts of writing. Write 5 sentences, or write for 5 minutes. And do this several times a day until I have my four pages completed.

      Thank you for reminding me!

      And I like the idea of having my characters doing something mundane and possibly reflecting on what's going on in their lives. If nothing else, it'll ground them in the scene and then I can see what flows after that.

      All the best, Mouse! :)


Hi! I love reading new comments so thank you for sharing. I'll be sure to get back to you to continue the conversation. :)