The Uncomfortable Truth: Do You Want To Even BE A Writer?

Sometimes, it’s the questions you don’t wanna answer, which need the most urgent ones.

By now, you all are aware of this cool concept of MasterClass. This is app available on Android and Apple iOS which has all sorts of famous people teaching their crafts. These classes include music, cooking, sports, film and writing.

One thing that I thought was interesting was the quote that Martin Scorsese said about film-making. In paraphrasing, he said that if film-making is a not something you cannot live without doing, ‘then this class is not for you.’

What I will tell you is that writing is demanding for those of us that do it. Writing is, can be, something that we as writers do naturally, like breathing.

The gratitude of doubt, as hard as this is to hear, perhaps writing is not what you want to do. You may have wanted to be a writer, tried to be a writer–and the doubts may have overwhelmed you.

Remember, the doubts come as gut-checks. They check your motives: you are supposed to acknowledge it, but not hang on to it.

Check out this series in September 2019. Go now. You won’t regret it.

However, I want you to take artistic inventory. I want you to think hard about what it is you want, and desire to do. If you want to write, you will find a way to do that. If you desire not to write, you will find every reason not to.

At this point? You should put it down. Put up the pen. Scrap the work. Don’t share new work. Give it up. A good rule of thumb I have discovered if you feel this way, is to give up writing up for a season. A chronological season is 3 months, 90 days. If you can be a peace with not writing–this means not writing, not thinking of writing, no desire to write–it is safe to assume writing is not what you want to do. However, if you feel called to it, want to go back to it, feeling that you cannot be your whole self without it, then I suggest you get back to the work at the end of those 90 days. Whatever you thought about writing in that time away from it, start the next season with that work.

Writing for us whom love this craft, won’t give it up. We do not give it up easily. If you feel that you can? Well, the world is a big place; you have the freedom to do other things. Try other things. Perhaps writing is not the thing which calls to you. It is better you find that out now, rather than later.

There is nothing so sad (or scary) as a writer whom does not write.

Fear: The Rooted Trick Of Doubt

All the talent in the world will not insulate you from moments of doubt. The best well written outline will not save you from doubt. All the writing challenges, writing sprints and applications for NaNoWriMo will not save you from doubt.

But here is something that you need to not just understand, but to know: a doubt unchecked becomes a rooted fear.

A doubt–unchecked–becomes a rooted fear.

As a creative person, especially a writer, you will encounter these moments where the words won’t come, or they cannot come. These types of doubts are normal. However, when the doubts which are not worked through become fears.

A fear in something irrational, or unproven in some cases.

In the years by which I have been at this craft, learning and trying to do it better, the main three fears which occur in the life of writers are can be summed up here:

1.) Fear of Launching.

2.) Fear of Criticism.

3.) Fear of Vision.

Let me explain a little further.

This writing will always require faith in yourself–above anything else.

The Fear of Launching will run the space out of a computer, jump drive or notebook. It will keep you second guessing, nervous and believing it is good enough to just write! This fear will keep you as a hamster on a wheel.

How you defeat this: Write and begin to share you work. Find a writing group. Find a free platform. If you are a minority writer, these writer groups are essential. Writing in community helps.

The Fear of Criticism will send keep you thinking that you work will have no audience. That you will not be successful. This fear will paralyze your talent: it will stop you from writing or sharing your work! This fear will be apparent especially in the beginning–and must be handled afresh with every project.

How you defeat this: Write. Write scared. Write everything that you think you want to read! Remember these two quotes.

“If there is a book you want to read, you must write it.” -Toni Morrison

“A real writer can write anything.” -Christopher Priest

Write because you know you can.

The Fear of Vision will keep you from branching out into the world. It will keep you stifled and stymied into a genre either you want to change, or expand. As a writer, you must become comfortable in seeing what other people cannot see. Don’t be afraid of what you see, or want to see! That is the nature of this craft–we create what we see, that other people can’t see, in order to make the world is little bigger or smaller.

How to confront this: Write what you want to write, and not what other people tell you to write. Find the genre that makes you happy, that speaks to you, and write what you want. Write the things you want to see.

*Tune into The Writers’ Block Podcast during the month of October to find out more tips and tricks on making doubt work for you.

What Are You Afraid Of?

Picture it.

You. Blank pages. Full pens. Battery? 100%

You have all these lovely, deviant, dark, horrifying, sexy, funny ideas in you head. Yet…you doubt if you can write them down.

Where did all that faith go?

Where did all that passion fall to?

Where is your motivation?

First, don’t panic.

Second, ignore it.

You heard what I said. Ignore the doubt. You do this by writing anyway. This is the mystery of writing! You have to be willing to be two things:

  1. Available
  2. Okay with being uncomfortable

As a writer, you need to be okay with being uncomfortable. One of my writing/snark heroes is the incredible Luvvie Ajai. She was hesitant in embracing the title of writer as well. It can be heavy; there are certain connotations that come along with it. There are demands, expectations, joys unprecedented–but doubts that you may have never known.

So, when I ask you the question, what are you afraid of? I have asked myself the same thing. With every new project. With every Work In Progress. On every blog post. On every thing I write.

Herein lies the rub: not every writer has the same doubts. Or will have the same way of dispelling them. However, the doubt as I said earlier this month, keeps you humble. It keeps you working at your craft. It keeps you learning–it is never to paralyze you.

Don’t let the doubt paralyze you.

What is in you head, can be pushed through your hands.

You can do it.

Write.

Encouragement Pages-9/23/2019

Writers’ senses are always a little more keen than others. We see the world three ways:

How it is

How it could be

How it could become

Today, look at the worlds and circles you inhabit. Examine the spheres in which you move. I bet there’s a story there.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Encouragement Pages-9/16/2019

Keep the rhythm.

Find the beat.

Trust your talent a little bit today. What thing of light, of dark, of horror or light ate going to develop?

What (or whom) will you pull out of the air?

Trust the things your imagination sees and hears. Perhaps even chase a few.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris