Fear And Writing In North Texas

When I decided to go full-time with my podcasting, one of the things that I was really excited about was finally getting a lot of time to dedicate to my writing. I imagined myself getting up at the crack of dawn with an oversized cup of steaming coffee, wrapping up in my robe and settling into my comfy chair, then pouring my ideas onto my keyboard for several hours before finally coming up for air.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that’s not what happened. But what I couldn’t figure out for several weeks was, why not? 

It’s not like I’m lazy. Well, maybe I am with some things, like jogging, and scrubbing the bathtub. But anyone who’s met me knows that if anything, one of my biggest flaws is taking on too much. So what was it that was keeping me out of my comfy chair and keeping me dicking around on my podcasting stuff when I had already made a deal with myself to spend the day writing?

As in so many aspects of my life, I finally realized that the reason for my inaction was fear.

I get on my podcast every day and in the midst of reviewing books and TV, I share deeply personal stories about myself, political opinions, and generally open up more than the average person does to a bunch of strangers online. However, that’s me sitting back and criticizing other people’s work, and that’s easy.

I have come to recognize that I’m frightened to put myself out there by creating something that’s all mine. I’m a perfectionist, and when I look at the first drafts of my books from the vantage point of having several more years of experience in critiquing, I can see so clearly how poor a lot of my work was. I feel ashamed and upset and frustrated, and I want to go back and erase everything from the memories of people who read my earlier versions. Even second and third drafts, when reading with fresh eyes, fail to capture anything like what I intended, and I lay awake at night suddenly aware of mistakes I’ve made in the plot, or dogged by the knowledge that certain chapters lag because I have no idea where my characters are going.

Today I’m sitting down and brainstorming until I have the plot of the first fifteen “episodes” of my books nailed down, in detail. I will be removing my finished books from Wattpad for the time being until I have decided how best to proceed with the formatting of “episodes” and the handling of POVs. I think a major overhaul is in order, and I’m pretty excited to get to delve into the future of my characters.

Are you a writer? Have you experienced this kind of realization, and if so, how’d you get through it?