It’s not been easy for me in the last few years. I refuse to call it writers block because I’m not blocked from anything. If it were a block I’d stare at the page and wonder how do you do the typing and the telling of the story I don’t know yet. I’m doing the typing now so, no, there’s no blockage of any sorts. What I have is a fear; a giant phobia of releasing my creative writings into the world. I don’t know what’s caused this fear of never being good enough, but I’m getting over it, and if you have the same fear as me, you should too.
For a long time, I thought I was a shitty writer. I thought I was shitty at everything everyone told me I was good at because, well, my family is supposed to tell me I’m good. Also, I’m the sweet one of my friends so they don’t want to hurt my feelings. Plus, I’m melancholic. I’m riddled with sad thoughts all the time so being nice to me is the least people could do.
I’m not shitty, though, it’s just fear.
I always have great ideas for stories. Hell, I’ve been sitting on my best idea for a for the last seven years. Granted I like to spend my sweet time working out the kinks, but they’re ready to be released into the world at any given moment to be honest. The fear is a sort of anxiety but it’s also a worry. I worry about the real issue I’m afraid to encounter: Will I, the writer, be seen as the same entity as my characters?
I see this all too often. I see the backlash George R. R. Martin has to endure on behalf of the actions of his characters. Then I also read books that lead with sociopathic murderous lead characters and rarely come across bad reviews. It’s just that, how can you not be afraid of public outcry when they think so ill of you based solely on what your characters do?
I won’t lie here, Tumblr has frightened me a bit. The generation of calling out the problematic and not having triggers and labels for all things possibly upsetting to them has made me a little worried about how I’ll be seen.
I will add as a sort of side note here that I don’t like this cultural idea of making people feel terrible for the things they create without telling the creator what they’ve done wrong. I’m telling a story, and from the perspective of a writer, it’s scary to think I’ll have to deal with someone telling me how I should have written something without giving me criticism in return. I don’t ever want someone to tell me how I should have done this and that and slander me for not being able to disassociate me my characters instead of simply talking to me. It’s unfair to be put in that position because it’s, well, rude. It’s unfair to make people feel as though they have to cater to people who don’t make it known what they want from you, or anyone who is a creator.
And how did I overcome all this? I thought about myself. I thought about the books I enjoy reading, the books I’ve bought lately written by people like myself and how no matter how gothic and dark the story may have seen, it was still damn good. I realized that I won’t be everyone’s favorite kind of latte, and that’s alright. My worry, really, was the fear that maybe I just wouldn’t do it all right. Because I believed there’s a right and wrong way to do everything, and even though there is, research really goes a long way.
I like weird, I like obscure, I like stories that are gritty and unsettling. And I won’t apologize for the stories I find myself telling high from inspiration of these pieces. I’m not going to hide in fear of not doing it right when me doing it at all is the most important part. I can’t take back a story that I want to share with the world simply because of the few who won’t like it, or me.
I overcame this fear when I began to write again with the interest of myself in mind. The words “write what you want to read” haunt me in the ever most comforting way, and I obliged. With that being said, I have promised myself to finish this long short story (now even longer than I imagined) and have promptly titled it Svetlana. Without much to give away, as I may change my mind half way through, but it’s about a young woman who’s becoming a woman. In her own words:
“Many great women have left behind legacies, stories of their triumphs and failures. They have all told their stories, and so will I.”
That’s not much but it’s the general idea, sort of. Hopefully in a few months time I will have more to share and a cover to reveal. For now, there’s a Pinterest board where all my inspiration can be found. I don’t expect much to come from this. There’s no rush to paperback in my future but it excites me nonetheless.
I’m not afraid anymore, and no one else should be. Whether it be opinions of others or even your own self-doubt, follow your gut. And if you’re a writer, listen to the advice that happily haunts you. It’ll pay off, I swear.