The Collaborative Writer Forum For Aspiring and Published Writers

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
by collaborativewriter • 85 Posts


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.

And fear ceases to be your enemy.



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