aqua fortis

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

WFMAD Day 1: Getting In My Own Way

Today’s Prompt:  What things do you allow to get in the way of your writing? Be specific, detailed, and brutally honest.

Today is the first day of the Write Fifteen Minutes A Day Challenge. I'll be posting my fifteen minutes on this blog. I need to post here more (and I promised to do just that several weeks ago, after which I failed miserably to keep up with my promise). I need to do more regular writing and in order to both of these things I need to get over my fear of posting personal writing in public.

It's not just the normal fear of having other people read my writing. I always have that. You just get over it, more or less, or ignore it. It's the fear that nobody is going to care what I have to say. It's the fear that I'll regret having posted something too personal, that it will feel self-indulgent or too revealing. That I'll be boring. That not even my friends will care about what I write. That I compare unfavorably with other writers--I spend a lot of time comparing myself to others and coming up short. Hey, the prompt said to be brutally honest.

A lot of these same fears apply to my writing in general. Maybe it's because I didn't grow up planning to become a writer, didn't grow up knowing that was in my future, but I often feel like an impostor. I didn't think of myself as a writer, just someone who enjoyed writing stories on occasion.

So, yes, fear. Fear gets in the way of my writing--all kinds of fears. And really, when I think about all the other things that get in the way--procrastination, time management issues, failure to prioritize, not having time, not having energy--I begin to realize how many of the things that get in the way of my writing are related to fear, at least at some deep-down level. Fear that if I embrace being a writer, I'll cease to be an artist. Fear that my efforts will ultimately never live up to my expectations and hopes for myself. Fear that I'm not going to earn enough of a living simply by writing and making artwork. Fear that I don't have what it takes, that I'm not disciplined enough or devoted enough. Fear that I don't want this writing life enough, or that I want it too much.

I wish I were the type of person who could let go enough to embrace the artistic, creative life wholeheartedly. But I'm just not. I can't leave behind practical issues. Issues of money, of survival, of fairness in our household. There is a simple joy and relief at having a partner who understands what it is to be an artist at heart, because he also is one. But I also feel tension at the inherent inequity that results from one of us having the "real job," and I end up feeling like the opportunity to do my creative work is a luxury, rather than the gift that it is.

I need to give myself this gift once in a while.


tanita davis said...

Especially since this gift has gotten you a contract and people who enjoy and expect more of your work... yes.

aquafortis said...


I have a real talent for minimizing my successes, too. I'm not sure how/why that is, though I suppose it's better than being an insufferable egomaniac. :D

Yat-Yee said...

Your descriptions about the fear of a writer is spot on: are we good enough, are we being indulgent, does anyone else cares. I'm glad you're doing this. My world would be a duller place without your writing.

aquafortis said...

Thanks, Yat-Yee! I really appreciate that.