Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Beginning again

What is it about beginning a story that is so scary for me? It's like every time I start over I have to beat down the same fears: fear that the page will remain blank, fear that anything I do put down on it will be utter crap, fear that my last story was as good as it gets--and that wasn't even very good.

Why don't I think these thoughts when I start a new yoga class, or begin a new hike, or start cooking a new meal? I'm guessing it's because I care more about writing than just about anything else. And because my ability to do it (to whatever degree) seems very mysterious to me. I know how I do yoga--I practice and my muscles get strong and then I do it better. I assume that writing is the same way (as I wrote in my F*ck Inspiration post, below). But I don't actually know that. I haven't had a personal trainer tell me it's so in 100% of the cases.

Is this starting fear the same for everyone? Or are you afraid of another part of the process? Best Blogger Tips


FatCharlatan said...

Sometimes I feel like all I do is live in a perpetual state of fear. No idea if it's normal, but I imagine it's common, especially among artists (or wannabes, like me).

bostonerin said...

Hmmm. Starting is hard. For me, when I sat down to start a new book, not only was there fear, but utter despair--"how can I do this again?" "there are so many pages to write!" "What am I thinking?" "Should I be an orthodontist?"

But then you do it. You begin. Word by word...or, as Anne Lamott says, "bird by bird." And it gets easier again. And fun.

TI said...

Bug, I am having exactly the same feeling this month. I feel like last month's revision, which I was pretty happy with, was the best I can do and now I'm struggling with the new piece and feeling like it is going nowhere. Yesterday I actually felt physical, gut-wrenching fear! So it's reassuring to hear that I'm not alone. Thanks for sharing that. Remember "the courage to write" -- I keep it on my desk most of the time now.

Tori said...

As Nelson Mandela said,
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

This inspires me to go forward and for "it".

MAHIMA said...

just showing up on the page and beginning can be so hard sometimes!sometime, i just start with any word- first one that comes to my head. and begin. once the first words gets down on the page, it gets smoother.
sometimes i begin stream of consciousness- anything- and then it somehow gets back to what i was writing about or wanted to write about- this, ofcourse is time consuming and often fun, so it may not feel like real work and you may feel guilty indulging in it too often, although, it does work. :)

chiefbiscuit said...

Didn't some famous writer say something about the 'fear of the blank white page'?
I think what you say makes so much sense it should be bottled and given out free to every struggling writer - and aren't we all?

Repeater said...

Yes, we do all seem to be going through it. I've also started a new one (and last month's revision was good). As per usual for me, the beginning is very exciting, I can't wait to get it started, and I love the opening. It's usually after the first few pages that I hit a wall. That would be today. I'm completely stuck & don't know what to do with it. I agree, thanks for writing this one. You're not alone.

Bug said...

Thanks so much for the thoughtful answers. I'm glad I'm not alone, and the quotes a few of you posted are beautiful!

TI said...

Just an fyi about the quote :our deepest fear...". It's from Marianne Williamson (author of REturn to Love), not Nelson Mandela, although he might have quoted her at some point since her poem is quite widely cited.

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