Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Page Fright

Do you ever experience page fright?

If you are a writer you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. How often do we let our fears keep us from writing? Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the dust rising another inch on the furniture if we don't get out the Lemon Pledge Furniture Polish and a dust cloth right now instead of writing. In fact, you shouldn't even be reading this blog...Go! Now! Dust!

On another blog I read about an intriguing book by Ralph Keyes titled The Courage to Write {How Writers Transcend Fear}. It does take courage, doesn't it? Just the putting so much time and effort into a project without knowing if there will be a successful outcome is a risk in and of itself. Then there's the whole opening yourself up for critique and rejection part of it. Definitely not for the faint-of-heart.

The book deals with such topics as overcoming procrastination, dealing with anxiety over what others will think, and, this is a quote from the website, "how writers use obfuscation to soothe writing nerves." (I don't know what obfuscation means, but it sounds kind of like a procedure performed in a doctor's office involving unwarranted growths being removed from the body and not soothing at all.)

One thing Keyes recommends for overcoming fear is "joining a serious writers' group." His words. I had to laugh because after attending last summer's writing retreat with my group, American Night Writer's Association, one could question our seriousness. Of course, in the sense that he is speaking of, we are serious. Serious about writing and supporting each other in this risk-taking endeavor. I know that if it wasn't for ANWA I might have been content to write newspaper articles, church programs, and my kid's English essays (KIDDING!), never having the courage to take the plunge into novel-writing.

So stare down that blank page and show him/her whose boss. Turn your fears into positive energy that flows right onto the computer screen.

And I'll go look up obfuscation...

[this post is also playing at anwafounder.blogspot.com]


Anna Arnett said...

Very interesting, and very true. I need to find a way to avoid procrastination, probably my own biggest fault, especially as far as writing goes. Well, most other tasks, too. I miss out on lots of things because I procrastinate and suddenly it's too late.

On obfuscation, I wondered if it were related to obscure. Not really, though they both came from Latin. Obfuscation seems to mean to darken and make unclear, while obscure is already that way.

(You can tell I didn't procrastinate pulling out my trusty RD Encyclopedic Dictionary.)

Anonymous said...

Very thoughtfull post on overcoming fear .It should be very much helpfull.

Karim - Creating Power


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