Savvy Word Slinger


Posts tagged writing
Writing What I Felt
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I needed to write, but I was experiencing blah. Was that an emotion? It was my form of exhaustion in every way, shape, and form. I am not proud of it, but I have found a lot of my days lately have overflowed with stress. I sat in the morning pondering if I was going to write anything because I have been in a funk. I didn’t feel like writing at all, and I was not sure about the extensive project I promised myself I would finish.

So, what did I do when I didn’t feel like writing? What every good writer does surf the net. I realized email was an excellent place to start my procrastination. I was sent an email for Camp NaNoWriMo, and it was very inspiring for my moment in time. Write what you feel email  by Kat Yeh said: “Some people say write what you know—I say write what you feel.” 

 Through my academic circles, I had studied plenty about writing what I knew, however writing what I felt has been felt out.  I had not heard someone approach writing what you feel this way before. When I have been looking up ideas about character emotions, I have come across a lot of writers and artist taking a sharp memory and writing from the feelings you had at that moment — this type of writing I can do with ease. There are days, weeks, and sometimes months when I have struggled with writing. When the thought of a book came up, it felt more like a chore than something I wanted to do. The writing honeymoon was over, and it only took three years. 

I am not ready to divorce writing or my muse. However, I needed to know how to work on my relationship when I didn’t feel like being in it.  I heard from people give up writing and do something else with your life. What people have not witnessed was how great writing had been the one thing that had carried me through the darkness, and joy I felt in creation. I was at least staring at my screen, I got my butt in the chair, and I continued to watch the blinking curser. How in the world could I write what I feel when I didn’t even feel like writing?

In these moments of blah was when mind dumping and free writing were my lifesavers (suddenly have a candy craving). The email I had read said to take a few minutes to just writing whatever it was you were feeling. Sometimes I need to vent, and there was no one else to listen. So, I vent to the computer screen. With the beautiful world of dictation, I can yell at my device, and it will record every word I say. However, just like humans, it has continuously got some of it wrong. 

I decided to do a little therapeutic writing, getting all of these emotions and thoughts onto a page for about 5 minutes. This was when a light bulb turned on for me. I have heard many times from many people, even in my academic writing circles to write what you know but what I knew at that moment was what I felt. 

Then from the instruction of the email, I began to write a character in a funk about life and feeling in some way, it will never get better than this. This woman couldn’t see the future for all the things going on in her life right then. They couldn’t see the joy of the light or the relief of the rain. They stared off into the darkness, and it consumed this character like a moth to a flame. And just like that, the main character for my next book was born. 

The moral of this story is to just write.

How to Deal with Writing Fears
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I wouldn’t be here talking to you now if I had not overcome some of my biggest writing fears. These top two fears kept me at a standstill in my writing process. I would stare at the page and get so frustrated. I couldn’t even allow myself to begin to write because I thought I had to be perfect when I started. For those friends that stayed with me during the fear stages, I thank you, and for the others well you are missing out on the most exciting years of my life so far.

Not everyone will be able to handle you talking about your fears and insecurities as a writer, I will tell you that up front, but give them a chance to try. I would advise getting involved in a writing community. You can check out why that is important here.

The two biggest fears I had were.

1. I am not good enough to write.

2. No one is going to read my work.

I am not good enough to write stemmed from having a hard time with grammar and teachers putting down my writing. Not all of my teachers were discouraging, but many of those negative voices still linger in my mind.  They would say my ideas were good, but my grammar was terrible. It was hard not to take it to heart because at that time my teachers were the encouragers of my academic life. My family didn’t understand my choices. I was told I have the grammar level of a fifth grader, and I also had a professor refuse to pass me unless I sore I’d never do anything in English. I did not have the polished and refined writing I should have by 20. Now, I will admit some of this was my fault because I didn’t always edit my work well before I turned it in, but it was clear I had some things I needed to work on.

I am not sure where you are at coming into this if you have had people say these things to you maybe people you trusted, loved, or held their opinions in high regard. It is okay to come to writing with fears because it is by writing each day you overcome them. All you have to do is put one word after another. I had to learn to let go of what other’s people’s opinions were of me and my work. I had to replace their words with positive words of my own. I kept searching for what I thought good writing was.

After a few months of getting words on a page or in my case on a screen, I began to wonder if anyone was even reading this. Did it really matter if my blog or my story was only enjoyed by me? This fear is a little different because it is about failure for me. If no one is reading it, then I wonder why I am continuing to write it. I have dealt with this fear often so as a way to battle it I wrote out on index card taped to my desk the reason why I write.

I found out it wasn’t about other people reading my work at all it was about writing for myself and how it made me feel when I gave myself the time and put in the effort to write. I wrote to think clearly again because there were so many things going on in my head. I wrote privately to dump all of these thoughts out of my head. I wrote just because I enjoyed it throughout my life. It was fun to create new worlds and different characters to interact with.

I also realized that if I did want people to read any of my stories I do actually have to put them out there.

My thoughts on overcoming fear are to figure out what your fear statements are and write out the opposite to be true.

I am not good enough to write.

  • I am an amazing and successful writer.

No one reads my writing.

  • Everyone reads my writing and wants more.

It seems like a lie at first and like you are trying to pull one over on yourself, but the truth is it can change your future by believing in the positive things instead of letting the fears control you. If you don’t think that works for you then I would say write anyway for you and you never have to show it to another soul if you don’t want to, but do it for you and your own joy if for no other reason.