The thought of sitting down to write paralyses me with fear.
Or at least, it’s a feeling similar so it’s the only thing I have to compare it to. Sitting down to write these blog posts is fine, it’s light hearted non-fiction and they’re quite short and easily achievable.
But yet, to sit down and write something longer and fictional I seriously procrastinate and my computer stays on, a blank document open on the screen, the cursor blinking whilst I go around the house washing the dishes, tidying my clothes up, wiping down the sides. All the while my computer sits in the corner, silently judging me because I’m not doing what it wants.
So why am I scared to write?
I think of myself as a writer in my head, if there’s a section on form titled “hobbies” I will list writing as one of them (along with reading, video games and photography – if you must know!) but I don’t actually write – because of this paralysing feeling.
I’ve tried to write so many novels and have never wound up actually finishing one, I’ve wrote a feature length film script which I had to do for my final year of University but other than that I haven’t wrote anything meaningful in a script form either since leaving University.
Actually since leaving University, where I studied Film & TV Screenwriting with Creative Writing, I’ve hardly written anything and I left University two and a half years ago.
I think one of the biggest contributors to this fear of writing is the fact I have no self-control and not just with writing, the amount of times I’ve said the words:
- I’ll start exercising Monday
- I’ll start dieting Monday
- On Monday I’ll sit down and really concentrate on writing something.
- This Monday I’ll sit and work out a budget and I’ll stick to it and then I’ll start saving money so I can buy a new car/laptop/house etc.
The lack of self control is something I’m trying to work on, but again it’s hard to work on when there’s no self control!
And then on top this lack of self control there’s the excuse I use of “not enough time”. In my head I say to myself “well I’ve got a full time job, and I have a girlfriend and I want to play video games, plus I have to look after my blog, I can’t possibly find the time to sit and write.”
Which I wholeheartedly know is complete and utter bullshit.
There’s plenty of single parents out there, with jobs and kids and larger responsibilities than I have and they find the time to write.
I know if I sat down and wrote 1000 words a day of a novel as a bare minimum within 80 days I’d have the first draft of an average length novel. It would actually be less than this because sometimes when writing, the words can just find themselves and 2000 words in an hour can be achievable if you’re on a roll.
I even have just under 12k already written with a novel I’ve been working on called “Come With Me” which I have been sharing excerpts of on this blog, but when I think “Oh I’ll write some of my novel today” the blinking cursor appears, the fear sets in and I start cleaning or doing something else. This procrastination feeling, I’ve never pinned it down to whether I don’t like what I am writing or I am just lazy.
I’ve also got a few ideas for other novels and screenplays I would love to write but having the actual willpower to sit and write them just doesn’t exist.
As you can see in this screenshot there’s a few novels there that just sit abandoned – most of them are what would have been fantasy novels.
Part of me wonders that if I actually sat and wrote “Come With Me” to completion then it might lift this massive weight off my chest, even if it is a pile of shit, I could say to myself “yes, I am a writer, I have written a novel” and then I could get on with my next one knowing that it is possible and it can be done.
Maybe this is the answer?
The other option I’ve been dabbling with recently is to just give up the ghost. Stop saying “I’m a writer” even though this is what my degree is in and just focus on working in a career instead of dreaming about making it big as a writer of novels or scripts. This is the most drastic action and I don’t think I would follow through with this, I’d always be drawn back to writing, even if it’s just poetry. One of the things that helped me through my depression and self-harm was being able to put all the negative emotions into words on a page which I could either save or delete.
No, what I think I would like to do is force myself to finish this novel, get the first one out of my system and then write something shorter. I think short stories would be good for me, they’re easier to sit down, think about and write.
But only if I can get the self-control to actually break the paralysing fear. Beat the blinking cursor. Laugh in the fact of an empty page.
Rekindle my love for writing.