Ten Reasons Writing Gives Us the Heebie-Jeebies

Wes Gilbert’s post on writer’s block got me thinking about why writing can be hard.

My conclusion?

There’s likely one common denominator between all writers: we are terrified of writing.  Maybe not the hide-under-the-covers kind of fear, but fear is still there.  We smile and dance around the issue, but deep down we all know the truth.  And writer’s block is usually the Diagnosis of Why You Can’t Write, but it’s probably not the only ailment.

Writing is scary.  What we write, the words that come out, the emotions, the unhealthy amounts of caffeine, the joys and frustrations all combine and make writing a very taxing experience.  Here’s some of the things that makes our beloved craft so scary!

  • God only knows what is going to come out of our fingers.  Just because they are physically connected to you, does not mean they listen to what your brain tells them to write.  Your fingers are crazy, devious little digits that like to drag your poor characters to hell and back.
  • Plot bunnies.  They seem cute and cuddly, only wanting you to write just a line or two about them (you know just so you won’t forget them!) and BOOM!  Sidetracked.  And really, what’s more fun?  A cute little plot bunny that just wants a few words here and there, or that grizzly bear of a piece that demands all of your attention rightthisverysecond.
  • What if I… suck?  What if the jokes aren’t funny?  What if the sex isn’t hot?  What if it’s weird?  Do I really want to have my mom read the sex scenes, and give me pointers?  Can I handle that?  …do I want to handle that?  *shudder*
  • I’m too boring.   Everything is boring.  No one will ever want to read about my character that likes making collages of kittens after he’s done fighting crime.
  • Someone is going to think I’m weird.  Writing is a personal experience, and often cathartic for writers.  What if someone reads a piece and thinks it’s just too freaky?
  • Will it ever be done?!  In our eyes, never.  In someone else’s, yes.  No one is going to notice that you used the word water on pages 134 and 188.  Really.  I promise.
  • Editing and Revising land seems like such a far away land from First Draft land.  First Draft land has magical unicorns and happy rainbows.  Editing and Revising land got hit with a nuke.  Twice.  It’s a dark and radioactive place!
  • But there’s nothing to write about!  Seriously.  Everything has been done, and so-and-so did it better!  How can I even compete?  Writers often feel that they just don’t stand a chance against other writers.
  • Writing can be uncomfortable.  There will come a time when you have to write something that is uncomfortable for you to write.  Some topics are just plain hard to talk about, let alone write down so the world can see it.
  • The Blank Screen.  Hour after hour.  Nothing comes out, and even when it does, you don’t like it.  This is when the bad mood comes in, and the “block” occurs.

All of these things are irrelevant.  Writers are risk takers in their hearts, even if they exude shyness.  Writing is how they take risks and live out fantasies.  It’s a gutsy trade, and as such, writing can be scary.  Along the way, you’ll learn bits about yourself too.  My personal writing journey has taught me quite a lot about myself, even pushing me to out of my comfort zone because if my characters can, than so can I.

So, even if you’ve got the writing willies, don’t worry.  Your fingers will be mischievous, but you won’t suck.  You mom will love it, and so will everyone else.  It’ll need work, but that’s okay.  You’re not boring or weird.  You’re a writer.

Are there any other things that trouble ya’ll as writers?  Anything else that gives you heebie-jeebies to write?


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