I’ve been writing with publication as a goal for years now. Certainly other people have been at it longer than me. I’m no expert. But I thought I’d be more settled by now. With one book published and two more slated to follow this year, I expected to feel differently, more capable, more efficient. It’s pretty annoying to fall into old habits. I’m distracted by promotion. I’m letting my personal life get in the way. I’m worried my work sucks. I’m…the same writer I was before my book was published. Isn’t that a kicker? Publication isn’t a cure-all. It’s not some panacea for procrastination, fear, lack of focus and doubt. In fact, it’s no match for those things. Like it or not, those things are part of being human, and just like I had to learn to live with them as a child, I have to learn to work with them as a writer.

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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