Before I start, I want to thank everyone for the kind words and helpful advice on last week's post. Because of that, y'all get a post about dealing with fear, not just suffering from it.
This one comes from Quanie Miller's blog, and oddly enough, her IWSG post from last month. In that entry, she talked about fear of completion, and I commented that I have a fear of starting. This fear comes from a simple place:
I'm afraid it's going to suck.
This is a stupid fear, and I know it, and yet here I am writing a blog post about it to make sure I remember how to never have it bother me again.
I think part of the problem is that what I write will never be as awesome as what I see in my head. I think we all deal with this. There's nothing quite like going over a first draft, then looking back at the plot, and giving the quizzical head-tilt at how different the two are. Even if you're aware that first drafts are supposed to suck (which you should be, because they are), it can be incredibly discouraging. And it's far too easy to say forget it, this is horrible, I can't believe I wrote it and I'm not going to touch it again.
From that point, it's even easier to feel this stupid fear, and say, why even bother to start, if the end product sucks? The answer to this is simple: if you don't write it, you can't fix it. And that means you have to write it.
So the next question is, of course, how do you overcome this fear? I'd love to say just ignore it, but fear is buried so deep in the human psyche that it's not that easy. We're descendants of the cave-dwellers who were smart enough to stay in the cave when they were scared. Their fearless fellows are now fossilized poop.
Oddly enough, I've found that one of the best ways to deal with fear comes from Peter V. Brett's books. (If you like your fantasy dark and your magic atypical, check him out, seriously good stuff.) The lead characters in his series spend their nights fighting demons, so naturally, they have various ways to overcome their fear. The way that seems most successful? Don't fight it. Don't struggle against it. But don't give into it either. Embrace it, let it pass through you, and carry on in its wake.
It's a method reminiscent of the litany against fear from Frank Herbert's Dune, and unlike many fiction-inspired methods of handling one's problems, I've found that it works really well. I recognize the fear I'm feeling, and instead of dwelling on it or letting it keep me from working, I remember the people who fight demons in the desert maze, and let that fear pass over me. I have to remind myself of this from time to time, which is part of why I'm writing this. Because everything seems more real once it's written down.
So, yes. Whatever fear you have about your writing, embrace it, and find a way to let it pass through you, instead of wrestling with it. Breathe deep. Dance. Recite the litany against fear. Recite the litany against beer. Listen to music so happy your speakers start spewing out smiley faces. Get a stuffed animal, write "FEAR" across its face, and beat it against a wall.
But do what it takes to get you past the fear and in front of your keyboard.