By Kathy Lipscomb—a new blogger. J
I let my own thoughts get to me way too often. I’ll be at the computer, writing or about to submit my next chapter to my critique group, and the negativity comes at me like a fog. I suck. Why would anyone like this? It has horrible sentence structure, the description is unclear or not even there, and the characters are all flat. I can’t even think of a better simile than a FOG. I suck at writing. I suck at life. I suuuuuuck…
And the spiral downward continues.
The fear I feel when someone, anyone, is about to read something that I’ve written…oh the fear. It makes me sick. Not just in my mind, but my palms get sweaty, I start shaking, and I want to make a beeline for the bathroom because lunch is about to come out.
I’m sure many of you know the exact fear I’m talking about.
When this happens, I have to ask myself an important question (sometimes repeatedly just to be sure, heh heh). Let’s say I really do suck, that I’m the worst author in the whole entire world and existence. If that’s all true…would I stop writing?
Because I don’t write to be famous or popular. I don’t write to be loved.
I write because I love it.
And what happens if I don’t put my writing out there? I’ll never get any better. How can I improve my writing skills if I don’t let other experienced writers critique it? How would I be able to improve and grow? I couldn’t. Not on my own.
So I push the send button, or I open my mouth to read it out loud. Do I want to suck? No. So I’ll face the fear and get better.
Two years ago, I did the whole Boot Camp at LDStorymakers conference. There were five of us sitting at a table with a published author, and we had ten pages of our own story to read out loud to be critiqued. I almost threw up when it wasn’t even my turn. When it became my turn, I opened my mouth to start reading, but nothing came out for a good solid ten seconds. During those seconds, I seriously calculated how fast I could grab my bag and run far, far away. It wouldn’t take long. No one would stop me.
Only that realization allowed me to stay in my seat and start to read—no one would stop me.
I needed to stop myself, take a breath, and learn what I could to be better.
They all said they loved it and wanted to read more. Were there things to fix? Yes. Was it the end of the world? No.
I learned a lot and used what I learned to make it even better.
I’m still terrified of sending my work to someone. What we do makes us vulnerable. We talk about how it’s like sharing a piece of our souls, our manuscripts are our babies, and all those other clichés.
But it’s important to not let fear keep us from reaching our potential.
So, if you were the worst writer in the whole world (which you aren’t because that’s my spot), would it make you stop writing?
I hope not.