Oh Hai Fear. I’ll Be Over Here Writing Anyway.

May 2, 2014 | 25 Comments

sunglassedshan

“If you wait for inspiration to write, you’re a waiter not a writer.”

That ditty was in my Twitter feed this morning. I tweaked the original, and I think my version flows better. Take THAT, Dan Poynter.

I’ve had this tape playing in my head for the last few months and I can’t find the off switch. I’m starting to realize there is no off switch for fear. Fear is one of my permanent passengers. And while that might not ever stop being hard, it’ll be a hell of a lot easier when I stop letting it drive. So, this is me thanking fear, sending it back to its passenger seat, and taking back the wheel.

Dear Fear,

Thanks for trying to protect me. Writing scares me, too.

  • I worry people are laughing at me.
  • I worry my audience is bored.
  • I worry they’ll stop reading, if they haven’t already.
  • I worry that the people who enjoy my writing are either lying or have “Fifty Shades of Grey” on their “Literary Genius” list.
  • I worry I’ll, put a comma in the wrong place and everyone will know I’m not a real writer.
  • I worry that the ways blogs have changed since I started in 1998 means everything I publish must come in the form of a thought-provoking essay. And sometimes I just want to remember that time the dog ate my Crocs and I didn’t know if I should discipline him or be really proud of his fashion protest.
  • I worry I’ll never stop comparing myself to other writers and that the answer to that might be to step out of the arena. Stop trying.
  • I worry I’ll worry about this stuff forever and get to the end of my life and realize I have more wrinkles than prose.

Here are some reasons to write despite fear, okay?

  1. You love documenting your life and some day Emma’s kids are going to delight in reading about the time their mother had a pee-in with the family dog.
  2. You don’t need anyone to read. An audience is delightful, but not necessary. You just need to write, Shanner-nanner. Be your own audience.
  3. No one’s going to beg you to write and you’ll be really mad at yourself when that fully sinks in and you realize how much time you’ve wasted feeling SORRY FOR YOURSELF YOU NINNY.
  4. Writing makes you feel amazing. Fuck perfection and social shares. FEEL THAT FEEEEELING.
  5. Yup. You probably will end up writing about stuff everyone else already has. But your audience is different and you’ll craft it in your own whimsically-punctuated ways.
  6. If you wrote as much as you worried, you’d probably have a better handle on comma placement, by now.
  7. Creating something from nothing is intoxicating.

And now I’m staring at the screen contemplating not hitting publish because how many writing pep talks exist on the internet, right? BUT OMG SHANNON YOU INFURIATE ME.

And then Kate Swoboda told me my critic is wounded and calling it names prevents healing.

S’okay. Shan. Listen. It’s okay you’re afraid. It’s okay you’ve been fretting since October instead of writing. But it’s time to hit publish now.

Okay!


Tell me what’s on your, “OH HAI FEAR, IMMA DO X ANYWAY BECAUSE” list?

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Join the conversation

  • Heidi Kenyon

    Love it. Thank you.

    • Shannon Fisher

      Thanks for reading and saying so, Heidi!

  • Natasha

    I am afraid of getting lost and being late and wasting time, but I’m heading to Vancouver with my son on foot anyway, pushing through MASSIVE navigational anxiety, to take him to a provincial speech competition and then showing him bits Vancouver, even though it’s the last thing I want to do most times but especially right now.

    • Shannon Fisher

      Let me know if I can help!

  • http://www.authenticexperience.org/ nikkiana

    Oh man… You totally nailed it for me with the “I worry that the ways blogs have changed since I started in 1998 means everything I publish must come in the form of a thought-provoking essay” fear.

    I don’t know where on earth I got that fear from, but that is the one that creeps into my brain every time I try to blog about… well… anything.

    • Shannon Fisher

      RIGHT? Way to change on us, Internet. :)

      Let’s write anyway, k?

      • http://www.authenticexperience.org/ nikkiana

        I’ve mostly come to the conclusion that I need to stop reading blog entries where bloggers talk about blogging because therein lies my insecurity.

  • YesPaste

    Oh, hi fear-of-leaving-comments! I’m gonna leave one anyways!!!!

    I really related to this. :)

    • Shannon Fisher

      Squee!

  • http://www.thesaltandlightstudio.com Lisa Kelly

    Dude, it’s like any kind of art form. It’s splashing bits of your soul
    onto canvas or making something freaking awesome out of human hair
    because it SPEAKS to you, or, in my case – producing images that tell
    stories because it’s IN ME and I NEED to share it. Art is so freaking
    hard. And damn scary. I think most artists go through cycles of fear.
    I officially started my photography business in 1999. I’ve spent 15
    years vacillating between profound periods of doubt and depression and
    heart pounding passionate joy for my work. It doesn’t seem to matter
    how well I do or how much work I have, I am still susceptible to
    debilitating fear. It’s as much a part of me and my process as anything
    else. But I keep moving forward, sometimes at a crawl because, like
    you, I don’t want to get to the end of my life with massive
    shoulda/woulda/coulda regrets.

    I’m so glad you chose to write today. I’m glad for YOU.

    • Shannon Fisher

      Mmm. This is such a lovely comment, Lisa. Thank you. I’m glad, too. <3

  • Ashley-Rae Carter-Wells

    Shannon, I love your wordsmith abilities. You put it together just write (seewhatididthere?).
    I feel the same way with my hula hooping. I know what it’s like to love something so much, to get such joy from doing it, that I’m terrified of doing it wrong. The thing with expressive art forms is that, once you master the fundamentals (spelling, keeping that hoop up on your waist), there is no inherently right or wrong way of expressing yourself. The most incredible art is those pieces that make you feel something, anything. So if your comma placement, or my punctuated shoulder hooping evokes an emotion if any kind, negative, positive, or otherwise I think it’s fair to say we’ve succeeded.
    Please keep writing, please don’t worry, and please don’t hold yourself back ever!!! X

    • Shannon Fisher

      Dude–YES. We’re on the same page for sure. I love this. Thank you for such a thoughtful response.

      I just learned to hoop this year (as in, hold it up on my waist) and I was hoping to take it further, but I didn’t get out in the yard enough. Maybe this summer. Your video inspired me for sure!

  • runningnekkid

    LOVE! And I’ve missed you so much. Glad to see you back, and I totally hope to hear more about the amusing banality that is the life of someone I really really really dig.

    Also, I’m afraid of pretty much everything, so every time I blog I feel like I should delete the whole internet. Also, I am super delusional because I think I delete the internet.

    • Shannon Fisher

      I would totally delete the internet for you if it came to that.

      You’re the greatest, C. You know that?

      Also, we’re meeting up for brunch on the 18th, right?! A kid-friendly date!

      • runningnekkid

        Coming back because AAAACK I did something pretty scary today and I’m SKURRED. I just Iliana on the waiting list for another day of day care so I can have more time to dedicate to writing. And we started talking about putting her in daycare / preschool 4-5 days a week. I am TERRIFIED because if I do that, then I have to dedicate more time to writing. And what if it’s all just a waste of time and I am a shit writer and I am giving up the SAHM lifestyle that I love a lot of the time (but loathe some of the time because, um, no time for writing).

        HELP ME, SHANNERS! I am kind of freaking out. And I haven’t even signed her up for anything yet! What am I gonna do when I get the call that a spot has opened up for her?! AAAAAAACCCCCKKKKK.

        • runningnekkid

          Oops, also, YES BRUNCH KID DATE AHOY!

          • Shannon Fisher

            Yayyyyy! I’ll be in touch closer to the date to make planzzzz. xo

        • Shannon Fisher

          One step at a time. Wait to see if she gets in. If she does, WRTIE YOUR FACE OFF. We could google hangout pre-writing to encourage each other.

          Define waste of time for yourself: you don’t enjoy it? you think your writing sucks? no one reads it? it doesn’t make you money?

          And then dispel those fears BY JUST FUCKING DOING IT ANYWAY. xo

  • michellelongo

    Yes to all of it!!

    • Shannon Fisher

      Thanks, Michelle! <3

  • 50Peach

    Love you. Love this. I’m afraid to start my book. Like, paralyzed. Because it will suck (as the first draft of anything will). I’ve missed your writing comma, schmomma, put it wherever the F you want. Because we’re here. xox

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