i'll be honest, i'm afraid of the dark. i always have been. i blame it on my unreasonably active imagination, CNN, and my poor night vision. i'm not proud of it, i know it's ridiculous, and for the most part i can't really rationalize it at this age, it just is. however in the brave spirit of shadowboxing and not wasting electricity, i'll keep the lights off even when i'd rather keep it all lit up in fluorescence. for some it is public speaking, for others it's heights, love, sharks, and so on, and sometimes, they tell me, it's writing. when i hear that one, it breaks my heart. but i get it; writing can be so finite, so complete, so irreversable--once your words are documented there is no turning back and that's a lot of pressure. there are so many choices, so many ways to express yourself. that gauzy, malleable, and silky weave from your thoughts onto the page goes into the world, and this is no small measure. its reflection brings with it the opinions of an audience and that can weigh heavy on the responsible party. not to mention the trouble with knowing what and how to write what it is you want to say.
we communicate all the time. less and less are we passing information back and forth in person or even over the phone. we are emailing, texting, status updating, and messaging. that economized language comes as a relief to some and is paralyzing to others. i'm one that loves a good conversation but gets distracted easily. writing serves me well because i have the time to organize my thoughts, in person i can get nervous or even stammer. i'm well aware that the reverse, however, is true for many.
fear can be as draining as it can be motivating. i wouldn't begin to know how to undo a fear of snakes but of writing, i am going to do my best to try...
here are a few nightlights--they will make writing in the dark a little less scary...
1) give yourself a break. writing won't bite, it won't yell at you, and it will never leave you forever.
2) find a comfortable writing environment. you don't have to have a beautiful desk or a bookshelf stocked with the classics. you can be in a cafe, library, or in your cubicle. get yourself a dictionary, a thesaurus, and either some music, that can drift into the background, a small visual trinket, or crack open the window--get stimulated and ready to write. the point is to create an environment for your writing that you want to be in and lends itself to productivity and ease.
3) know what you are writing about. i like to take walks or hikes to get my head clear, simultaneously i am getting the blood of my core ideas, themes, and theses flowing. be calculated, don't sit down and wait for the ideas to come, make time to hunt them down first.
4) don't set yourself up to fail. if you have a deadline, don't wait until the last minute to research, get prepared, or write your final draft. it's a process. i like to give myself time between each draft so i can return with fresh eyes. i've been writing this blog post in stages, just like everything else i write.
5) make friends with your writing. if something isn't working, don't hate it and punish yourself, edit it, that's what computers are for. editing is an incredibly gratifying process, what else in life can you get as many chances to do over and over again?
each of these can and should be applied to both the professional, performance, and creative writer.
contact me if you'd like some more strategies, i'll protect you!