Please welcome guest blogger Bonnie Doran!
All too often, we writers are strangled by fear, terrified of typing our story. Let me tell you about a few of mine and a few tricks to overcome them:
- Fear of the blank page: I stare at the blank page, unable to write the next few words or start a new chapter.
- Fear of the horrible draft: If you’re a perfectionist like me, you cringe at wrong words, bad grammar, and the places you need more research.
To be honest, writing a really rough draft is a problem for me. I have to correct my typos. As I write this, I’m editing the first half of the rough draft of my next novel. Everyone writes differently, so self-editing while typing a first draft works for me in spite of all the recommendations to the contrary. And while we’re on the subject of contrary advice...
- Fear of following the wrong advice: Attend any writer’s conference or read two craft books. You’ll get differing opinions from well-respected authors. Here’s what Jeff Gerke says in his book The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, about writers who find themselves in this position:
“Sometimes these poor people can get so wound up in trying to do what every writing teacher says that they find they can’t move. Because not every person who teaches about writing fiction agrees with everyone else who teaches about writing fiction. But the aspiring writer doesn’t want to violate any rule of fiction...So what do you do?”Trick: “You sift through all the ‘truths’ about fiction writing you hear and you hang on to the ones that make sense to you.”
- Fear of not having enough online presence: You don’t have a website? Shame on you! You don’t have a blog, post twelve times a week, and have thousands of followers? Double shame!
Trick: Do a couple of social media well rather than a bunch of them poorly. Start with one or two of your favorites, then see what you can handle.
- Fear of public speaking: Maybe I shouldn’t mention this one. My agent insists I have to do (gulp) public speaking. My debut novel, Dark Biology, released in September, and he wants me to address different groups to get the word out.
Scott Berkun describes the worst-case scenario in his book, Confessions of a Public Speaker:
“If you combine this list [of fears] to create the scariest thing possible, it would be to give a presentation in an airplane at 35,000 feet, near a spider web, while doing your taxes, sitting in the deep end of a pool inside the airplane, feeling ill, with the lights out, next to a rabid dog, near an escalator that leads to an elevator.”Well, given that situation, chatting with a bunch of mild-mannered people sounds tame.
Trick: Think of it, not as public speaking, but as storytelling. That sounds a lot less intimidating.
- Fear of the lack of creativity: Sometimes I sit at the keyboard and wait for words that won’t come. Where’s my creativity? Why can’t I dredge out a single description, interesting plot twist, or fascinating character?
Here’s a perspective from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, who incidentally is not a Christian as far as I know:
“Looking at God’s creation, it is pretty clear that the creator itself did not know when to stop. There is not one pink flower, or even fifty pink flowers, but hundreds. Snowflakes, of course, are the ultimate exercise in sheer creative glee. No two alike. This creator looks suspiciously like someone who just might send us support for our creative ventures.”Trick: Remember that your creativity comes from God, not you.
The bottom line is that we need to depend on God in our writing journey in spite of our fears. God put a little bit of His vast creativity in us. Our job is to put it on paper.
Your turn: What’s one fear you have? What’s one trick you’ve used to combat it?
Share your thoughts and you could win a copy of Bonnie's novel, Dark Biology. Be sure to mention in your comment that you'd like to be entered in the drawing!
About Bonnie: Bonnie’s debut novel, Dark Biology, released September 2013 from Harbourlight, an imprint of Pelican Book Group.
She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband of thirty years. They’re owned by two Siamese cats. John is an electrical engineer who works with lasers for a living. He’s also a Mad Scientist who owns a 2,300-pound electromagnet.
Besides writing, Bonnie enjoys reading, cooking, solving Sudoku puzzles, and volunteering at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She attends a local science fiction convention as well as various writers conferences each year. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, its North Denver Chapter, and the Denver Area Science Fiction Association.
Blog: The Mad Scientist's Wife
Twitter hashtag: #DarkBiology
About Dark Biology: Renowned vaccinologist "Hildi" Hildebrandt has set her sights on beating her brother to a Nobel Prize, and the opportunity to conduct experiments on the International Space Station might just provide the means to obtain that goal.
Chet Hildebrandt should have had that opportunity. But now he'll teach a lesson to them all: his hot-shot astronaut sister, his philandering hypocritical father, and the CDC for not properly appreciating his work. One vial of a virus purloined from the CDC labs and released at his father's marriage seminar should do the trick, without hurting anybody. After all, it's only a mild influenza strain…