Checklists help us get things in order. They’re a means of managing, staying in control. Or, at least, they prop up that illusion. But we have to start where we are, so if a checklist is what we’ve got to work with—start checking. Recognize any of these demons?
□ Writers’ block
□ Fear of failure
□ Fear of success
If you have all or many of these, often on a daily basis, what does it mean?
It means you’re a writer. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy, a loser or doomed forever.
If you worked as an accountant, computer engineer or teacher you might wake up Monday morning with some of these feelings, but you would brush your teeth, get dressed and go to work as usual. You’d put these negative feelings and behaviors aside and do what you’re supposed to do.
But when you’re a writer and these demons come, it a whole different story. Try putting them aside, chasing them away or pretending they don’t exist and you’ll never write anything of consequence.
Trouble is, most of us have never been taught to invite the demons in for a latte. There is no class in high school titled Learn Not to Deny and Stuff Emotion or Be Your True Self Even If People Don’t Like You.
For many of us, high school was a training ground for Denying and Stuffing Emotion 101. We learned, probably even before we went to school How to Hide Our True Selves So We Don’t Get Hurt.
But it’s a writer’s job to bring emotion to life on the page. If we want to write with any sense of truth, we need to experience our full range of feelings.
You could start now. Recognize what you’re feeling at this moment. Notice and possibly name it.
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