Writing terrifies me, and I hope it always will


I’m scared to begin. I think we’ve all felt that way about something, right? There’s a moment where we teeter on the edge of something, like a skydiver hanging out of the plane and all she has to do is let go. All I have to do is let go and start.

I’m talking about Episode 2 of Gone To Wonder, but I feel this way with every Big Project I start. Sure, sometimes I’ll poke at something, write a few paragraphs, sketch some things out, but that’s not a start to me. I’ve gone into novel-length projects and done significant work, even finished a few, but the whole time I knew this stuff isn’t going anywhere, you’re not going to show anyone this, so it’s okay. It belongs to me, and no one has to know whether it’s crap or not.

But when I’m starting something I really care about, and I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out, and I want so badly for it to pass my internal standards and the standards of all those that may read it someday, I’m terrified. Am I alone here, writers? Is anyone else as neurotic as I am about a silly story?

Once I’ve begun, the neurosis don’t go away, but I’ve already started, and my Cheese Monster is hungry (explanation about him in the video below). Sometimes I’ll peter out (okay, most of the time). Sometimes, the urge to find the end wins, and somehow I get there. It’s hard, it’s exhausting, it drives me insane (just ask Andrew). But before I’ve begun, before all the potential energy has been converted into kinetic, all I have are doubts and some silly ideas.

I’ve sketched out a few of these silly ideas for Episode 2, even taken a few cracks at starting, but always felt comfortable because I had my precious delete key. I love that key. I wield it like a katana in a room full of zombies. But after a while, write-delete-rewrite-delete serves its purpose. After a while, I know that I’m stalling, but I don’t want to start start.

The thing is, even though I’m anxious as hell, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want my writing to always scare me so much that I doubt everything, because that’s how I know I care and how I push myself to improve. If I’m not scared of failure, I won’t fully appreciate success.

Time is running out, though. A deadline approaches. The pencils are sharpened enough, the man says. Time to start this shit up.

If you’re like me, wanting to start something but you’re scared, or you’ve started and you have doubts, watch Ze Frank’s Invocation for Beginnings. Even if you’ve seen it before, watch it, then tell me about your beginnings. I want to know, am I the only one this nuts about a story, or anything? Are you scared to start things? And if you aren’t, what’s your secret?

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