| David Gane

I am not writing

What?

I realized this morning that I am not letting myself write anymore.

Of course, this is probably obvious to everyone except myself but I can't be expected to be wise.

After my birthday, I said I was going to write 40 stories by the time I am 40. I changed that plan a few weeks after to say that I was going to write a novel.

Then, I started with the renovations, rebuilding this blog one too many times, and taking on the role of the stay-at-home dad. I was just too darn busy to write!

Yet, I wanted to keep pretending to be a writer, so I got up at 4:30 this morning and forced myself to write over 1667 words. What showed up on the page wasn't a surprise but it was a wake-up call:

I was scared.

So What?

I think this feeling of fear is an easy thing to dismiss.

But what is there to be scared about?

First, there is the fear to write, the fear not to write, the fear to write crap, the fear to write and have no one read it, the fear to write stuff people that people will criticize, laugh at, mock... You get the idea.

I had just came off an amazing three years of writing. I wrote poetry, plays, short stories, screenplays, film reviews, and essays. I got something published online, I rediscovered my love of writing fiction, and soon I will have my MFA.

I didn't want the next thing I wrote to suck.

Second, there is the stigma of not writing. Waa-waa, boo-hoo, the poorly little baby writer is scared. Who cares?

Well, I do. And it is a hell of a thing to admit to because it seems so easy of a thing to change. Also, it isn't that hard of a job if you compare it to any physical, stressful, or life-threatening job that is out there.

Finally, there is the cost of it. The desire to be a writer and not doing it. Watching others fulfill your dreams while you are mired in the mucky muck of fear. The idea that you are getting older (yikes) and people your age have jobs and careers and this young kids are coming up behind you fast to bowl you over.

The funny thing (and not the funny haha sorta thing, mind you) about this whole thing is that so many of thsee worries are on the outskirts of the future. They are fears that would make sense if I was writing and getting things published for people to read. Not at the ass end, where the writing isn't happening, and I barely have any work to my name.

Now what?

Thankfully, I have been here before. During high school, I started writing and sharing it with my classmates. Some people liked what I was doing, and I tried to do more. Soon, the fear of failure reared its head and I blocked up for 15 years.

I got myself on track following a few simple rules:

  • Write. I know it seems obvious, so perhaps I should rephrase it: I need to be prepared to write shit. I expect the writing over this next year to never see the light of day. I expect it will fail more than it succeeds. I also suspect that I will never revisit or rewrite most of it. What matters most is to get up, get moving, and putting words on the page.

  • Hold myself accountable. I put that little word counter in the corner of my blog so that you can see my progress. I can't hide anymore and I have to show what is going on.

  • Start a writer's group. I started one before and I will start one again. I have learned my lesson though and this will be smaller one that requires a committed group of people. If you aren't writing, you aren't allowed to stay in it.

So, that's my plan. It isn't much and it may have more added to it as I come to understand the problem better but as this point, at least these three actions are at least something.

Footnotes:

  1. My wife used "What? So what? Now what?" as an analytic tool in reflective journal writing for her nursing courses. I liked it so much, I use it in my own journal writing, as well as developing my thesis reflection paper.

  2. 1667 words came from NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words over 30 days=1,666.66667 words a day.

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