Writing Under Pressure

July 13, 2012

When I was in school, I used to be really, really afraid to raise my hand and answer a question. Not because I might be wrong, but because someone might infer something about me based on my answer. What if they think I’m stupid? What if they think I’m too smart? What if I look weird when I talk?

Yeah, I was a big ole ball of insecurity, but luckily I made a lot of strides to go beyond that scared, insecure girl I was. Mainly, I’m not overly worried about how people perceive me, at least not enough that it determines how I act or the questions I might ask or the answers I might give. Hey, I send out my writing into the big bad world for scrutiny and rejection. Surely I’ve moved on.

But…

A little bit of that old fear cropped up recently as I worked on revisions for my upcoming Entangled book (that’s my sneaky way of bringing that up) [Elley’s chiming in here, saying Nicole shouldn’t be sneaking around, so go here and read the good news!] and the possible connected book. I started getting a little freaked out that my editor might think I’m stupid or a bad writer or foolish if I did x, y, or z. I started second-guessing every choice I was making in second book because there were two big rounds of full on revisions for the first.

I let the fear back in and, icky, not a good feeling.

I truly believe there is a rational and irrational part to every person’s brain. As we mature, we learn to listen more to the rational part, but the irrational part is still there whispering its little lies. It doesn’t go away, we just get better at realizing we are being irrational.

As I’m writing, if those fears crop up, I know I’m being irrational. Sometimes it takes a bit to move past it, but Rational Me eventually wins and I can move on. Some days it’s harder than others.

As a writer, one of the worst things you can do is listen to Irrational You because it undermines your writing along with your confidence.

Do you struggle with an Irrational and Rational You? Do you have any methods for dealing with the irrational part of your brain?

Nicole

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