Fear of Writing

Today I am delaying, procrastinating, avoiding writing.  I have completed the major first edit of my novel, On a Wing and a Dare, and realized that it needs one more chapter.  Although I am excited and proud of the twenty-one chapters that are there, this last chapter scares me.  So I took the dog for a walk.  I went to the gym.  Now I’m blogging–but at least it’s writing.

I find myself wondering about why people avoid writing.  I know that students are sometimes given prompts to write about that fail to inspire them.  I also know that writers of all ages face writer’s block when ideas don’t come to them.  These writers stare at a blank paper (or blank computer screen) and struggle for words.  That is not my problem.  I know exactly what needs to go in that last chapter, and I have a couple of ideas for scenes.

I have seen students with great ideas fumble with writing them down.  Some are afraid their grammar skills won’t be up to the task.  They’ve tried before and had bad grades, so they are reluctant to try again.  Some worry that they won’t use the right format.  If the teacher has taught a certain structure, and students are expected to use it, sometimes it’s hard to fit what you want to say into that structure.  But great ideas inside your head aren’t good novels/stories until they are written down.  I have confidence in my ability to write an awesome last chapter.  Just not today.

Students sometimes write furiously on a project then hand it in without thinking about it.  This is not always their best work, but it gets done.  I forced myself to belt out two tough chapters of On a Wing and a Dare, and they turned out pretty well.  If you wait for inspiration to strike, very little actually gets written.

Maybe the title of this piece should be “Fear of Finishing.”  When I finish this novel, I will be without a project.  Do I start a new novel?  Go back to my first novel and edit that?  Starting over is a lot of work.  And what do I do with On a Wing and a Dare?  There’s a lot of work ahead in sending query letters to agents and publishers and dealing with rejections until it finds that right person on the right day at the right time.

As long as I have this last chapter to write, I don’t have to deal with the hard work of selling it.  It can remain my precious baby and not be tossed to the lions, tigers, and bears of the publishing world.  Is that cowardly of me?  Maybe.

What do you think?  Give me some inspiration, encouragement, motivation to finish!

On my Kindle: People of Sparks by Jeanne Duprau

9 responses to “Fear of Writing”

  1. Yes the very last chapter is very hard to type or write. I kept struggling on my ending on my story because I had no idea if I make something bad happen or good. However, I still thought of an ending.

    1. So true! The ending can make or break the story! I hate it when students end a story with: …and then they woke up. Or worse: To Be Continued. lol Those are NOT endings.

  2. Keep going! After you finish the last chapter, you can look at everything you wrote before and marvel at it, because it is your own writing and not anybody else’s. Just looking at the work gives you a feeling that you did a great job.

    1. Thanks, Stephen! Very nicely said and very true.

  3. You should keep on going! One chapter isnt going to be so bad, it’s better than starting all over again! By the way, i LOVE your book so far… KEEP ON GOING! I really want to know how it will end. Good luck with your last chapter!

  4. It’s only gonna nag at you until you finish it. Better sooner rather than later! 😀

  5. You must encourage yourself as other people encourage you. you have probably heard the motivations: “It doesn’t hurt to try.” or “The sky is the limit.” Keep it going Mrs. Ulleseit inspiration is key.;D If you can give me straight A’s you can finish your novel!

    1. Thanks, Kate! I finished the novel. It still needs some polishing, but it is much better than it was!

  6. Fear of writing? Writaphobia? or Writingphobia? Hmmm? I don’t know.

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