One of the things that keeps me from putting words on the page is fear. I’ve talked about this before. Fear of the mountain of research, fear of not doing the story justice…and fear that my writing abilities are all in my head and the book will be crap.
Case in point:
I’ve always thought my husband could be a professional photographer. He knows all about lighting, he knows all the photographer words like “aperture” and what they mean, and he’s great with composition.
It occurred to me that maybe I could be a decent photographer as well. I also thought this would be the perfect complement to my writing career because I could illustrate my work. At the very least, I could get some photos into other people’s books and that would be equally cool.
So, I signed up on Shutterstock and submitted a few pictures. Of the ten I submitted, only three met all the submission requirements. I was disappointed, but not completely deterred. I combed through the rest of my pictures and none of the ones I thought were “my best work” met the pixel size requirements.
So I failed. I’m not the photographer I thought I was. At that second, I was ready to give up. My internal editor said, “See? I told you so.” I spent the next several days feeling sorry for myself.
Then I thought – Oh no! What if my writing is the same? What if I THINK it’s better than it really is? What if all my college professors were just humoring me to get me graduated out of the program so they could focus their time on students with REAL talent?
It’s so easy to get on this speeding train of self-doubt. Oh no, I burned the pork chops – my writing sucks. Oh no, I spilled glue on my scrapbook page – my writing sucks. I know it’s silly, but I stop writing until I’m able to get back out of my head again. Sometimes it takes a few hours, sometimes it takes days or weeks.
My soul knows that my head is trying too hard. My soul reminds me that even if no one else ever sees the book, it still has value to me. It’s still a story I’m interested in reading. It’s a story that needs to be told because it’s a side of history most of us have never heard. It’s a story that needs to get out of my head because it won’t let me focus on anything else. My character allows me to write this blog only because it’s directly related to her story. I have a friend who wants my help writing vows for her wedding and my character is making it difficult for me to redirect my focus.
So I sit in front of the computer, unable to think about anything else but scared about writing the words.
If you need me, I’ll be at the park with my camera getting more pixels.