Kicking Fear’s Butt

So I’ve been contemplating this mountain thingy here and while I have, I’ve been thinking about my writing and all those bloody rejections. Especially the last two. I found it very interesting that in the ed’s opinion, the Hammer Pants ms, the one I’d written 18 months ago, was stronger than the one I’d written 6 months ago. At first I was gutted about this – wasn’t I supposed to be getting better not worse? But then, after I’d thought some more about it, I figured that actually, she was right. Why? Because I remember writing that first chapter. And I remember how I felt when I was writing it: I wanted to write without worrying about stuff, without worrying whether I was showing vs telling, without worrying whether the hero/heroine were sympathetic enough or whether I had enough conflict etc, etc. So I stopped worrying. I wrote it just for fun. And lo! it was good. Of course, by chapter 2 I realised my conflict problems had raised their ugly head again and I couldn’t seem to untangle the difficulties, so I put it aside. But that’s a whole other blog post. 🙂

Writing without fear. That’s what I was doing. And that’s what I HAVEN’T been doing for the past year. Nope, the past year, I’ve been writing scared. Scared of getting it wrong, scared of messing it up somehow. Certainly all the Rs I’d got seemed to indicate that I wasn’t getting something right and sure enough, that little belief kept getting reinforced and poor Jackie kept getting scareder and scareder. Her writing lost her spark. All the life got drained out of it. And, most important of all, she lost her joy. Nothing like a self-fulfilling prophecy huh?

Fear will do that to a writer. It’ll suck the creativity right out of you. And it’s a b*tch to overcome, let me tell you.

The good thing is that at least I have an idea of where I might, potentially, be going wrong. So at the moment I’m trying feel the fear and write it anyway. 🙂 I’m trying to recapture what I felt when I wrote the Hammer Pants ms. I’m trying to just be in the moment with my characters and not think about whether this ms works for Riva or Presents. Or whether my hero is being too alpha. Or whether my heroine is being too unsympathetic. Or what to do with it when I type The End. I just need to switch all that off, immerse myself in the story, and start enjoying it again. I need to stop writing for an editor, for a reader, for my CPs. I need to write for me first.

This is something that a lot of people have been saying to me. And it’s not that I haven’t listened, it’s just that I haven’t understood why it’s important. Well, I do now.

So goodbye creepy fear. There is no place for you when I’m writing. You can haul your sorry skeletal carcass out of my study and you better do it before I go all Chuck Norris on your hide. Sure, I know you’ll be back when I hit the send button again but hopefully by the time that happens, I’ll have so many subs out that you won’t know which one to attach yourself to. So asta la vista baby!

And while fear is making itself scarce, I shall leave you with the words of wisdom my five year old daughter gave to me. When I told her about my R she said, ‘Were you writing quietly and carefully, mummy? You must always write quietly and carefully.”

Anyone else writing quietly and carefully? Or alternatively, giving fear a good roundhouse kick to the head? 🙂

17 thoughts on “Kicking Fear’s Butt”

  1. Julia – thanks!! I won’t lie, it’s taken some tough stuff to get to this point but we can’t let it break us. I’m not going to let it anyway. 🙂

  2. Go for it, Jackie. Especially the part about having so many subs out there that you can’t keep track of them all. That’s the spirit.

  3. Tongchen – why yes. I do.

    Aimee – In this instance, I hear her teacher talking. 🙂

    Cody – Thanks! At least, that’s the idea. Still that’s where you start eh?

    Lacey – Yeah!! Sayonara, fear!

  4. Glad to see you’re ‘back’ :). Yep. Fear can really suck the creativity right out of you. I’m always telling myself ‘don’t think, feel. And then write it’. Seems to have worked so far. Sounds like fear should put it’s tail between it’s legs and run!

  5. yay, good for you!
    Writing for myself has been my goal for a while. And i prefer how they read when i’ve written them for me, rather than getting the story to fit in a box.
    Go for it!!!

  6. Banish that fear! It’s a hard thing to do but I’m right there alongside you trying to vanquish it too 🙂 And lol on your daughter!!! If only they’d give us some peace to write quietly!

  7. Kaily – ooooh, I like that one! I might stick that up by my monitor. I’m a TERRIBLE overthinker so that’s a pretty awesome reminder. Thanks!

    Kerrin – Actually, I’m not sure I was forcing the stories into a box so much as forcing the conflict to fit the story and the characters I created and then overthinking. Sigh. 🙂

    Rach – yeah, like she EVER writes quietly and carefully! Well m’dear, I think you need not fear too much these days huh? 🙂

  8. Jackie I love this post! I love the thought of Chuck Norris kicking fear’s butt!
    I also think it’s about writing from the heart and writing the story you want to tell, instead of the story you think people want to read. Loving your daughter’s comment. Kids are the best amd much more insightful than adults – maybe that’s another lesson we need to learn. Keep writing Jax!

  9. I’m so proud of you Jackie for feeling the fear and doing it anyway, lol 🙂 I’m taking a leaf out of your book and tackling my partial that way too. Welcome back, honey 🙂 Quietly and carefully – now you can’t go wrong with THAT, eh?!

  10. I think once we submit and get feedback we start writing with our heads instead of our hearts. Then it turns more into a class assignment with a check list of items we need to include.

    Glad to see you’ve decided to write fearlessly!

  11. Scarlet – yeah re Chuck Norris!! There is no one cooler than Chuck Norris. 🙂 Oh and I think you’re totally right about telling the stories you want to tell. Going to be doing much more of that too. Quietly and carefully of course. 🙂

    Maya – Nope, can’t go wrong. Thanks my dear! Enjoy your partial – that’s what I should have been doing the last time and didn’t.

    Anne – you hit the nail on the head. And head being the operative word. I have been writing class assignments and not very good ones at that. Got to get back to feeling it. But not being afraid. Tricky! 🙂

    Caroline – good to see you back too! Yeah, I hope so re the fear. It’ll come back, it always does but hopefully I’ll be a ninja by then and will utterly slaughter it. 🙂

Comments are closed.