The writing habit, borrowed from Hope Clark's blog
in List as many ideas as you can come up with
Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:22 am
• 85 Posts
HABIT CAN BE A LIFE-SAVER
Lately I've been studying fear for a piece I'm writing. It's real, I don't doubt that. But I marvel at how manipulative it is. Manipulative in how it can control us, but also in how easy it is for us to control it. Most of us don't see that side of fear because . . . well, fear has a reputation of being scary.
Fear stops us. That's Mother Nature and millions of years of evolution at play. But it isn't supposed to hold us hostage forever. It's a natural instinct to make us think before we leap, or find another way, or hide until the threat is gone.
In these days when serious threats are few and far between, we tend to lean on fear as an excuse not to move forward. You know what I'm talking about.
We fear what we can't predict. Editors, agents, sales, audience reaction, blog comments, book reviewers. We fear the judgment of others. Considering our ancestors feared wild animals, weather and rampant criminals, fearing someone's rejection letter seems rather trivial.
You become scared into inaction. To avoid being rejected, you do not submit. Some ultimately quit writing.
Let's turn the fears of the writing world around, though. Let's put faces on your fears. You know:
1. Rejection happens. 2. You have to write badly before you write well. 3. You can't publish without submitting. 4. You can't improve without writing badly a lot. 5. You can't publish without being rejected a lot.
Face the fear. Say the following:
1. I will write daily. 2. I will seek feedback on my writing. 3. I will identify the weakness in my writing. 4. I will overcome the weaknesses in my writing. 5. I will submit. 6. I will accept rejection as a step forward. 7. I will repeat until I publish.
To conquer fear, you develop a plan, and you make the plan become a habit. Suddenly there's less unpredictability because you understand the cycle.
Also, befriending rejection is a fact of life; you actually feel more freedom to write since you know the odds of the outcome. That's when you learn to write for yourself, even at the risk of saying, "screw you, world."
But one day, somebody likes your words, and asks to publish them. Since you've become so keenly engrained into your habit, you most likely identify the reasons why this piece worked and the ones before did not.
And you grow. And you gain confidence. And fear becomes no more than a part of the process . . . an indicator that you need another plan, and another habit.