Sometimes, writing can be scary.
There are times in my life, when I feel paralyzed with fear when it comes to writing. I understand all too well why this sudden ‘fearful paralysis’ springs upon me like a predator waiting for a tasty meal. One factor is is my fear of failure. If I fail, this means that everyone’s opinions and expectations of me will be negative. I think people might say, “that’s the guy who tried writing, and failed. Remember him? He thought his story would be the next big thing.” … or they might say “I knew he couldn’t do it. Some people just don’t have it in them.”
What if all the advice and inspiration I hand out to people will has been in vain? How can I possibly help anybody with their craft, if I can’t even complete one ruddy thing?
This kind of doubt usually pops up when writing feels more like work than leisure. Whether you are a spiritual person or not, or believe that evil exists in this world, I believe that doubt is a weapon of the devil. He does not want you to succeed. I give you, an example of how I feel the devil acts when I’m trying to work on my craft.
This scene from The Neverending Story, fills me with dread. For those who have not seen this movie, one of the protagonists, Atreyu, has been on a quest to find out why all the wonderful things in his world have been disappearing. The antagonist called The Gmork, is sent to destroy Atreyu, and prevent him from succeeding at his quest to stop the ‘nothing’.
This scene presents both characters at a showdown, after both of their efforts have been in vain. This scene (in my opinion), is a reflection of the forces that work to stop writers from working on their craft.
The line, “people who loose all hopes are easy to control, and he who has the control has the power” terrifies me, because I feel that is the ultimate goal of the devil. If a writer looses hope in his craft, and forgets their dreams, it is far easier for them to give up, and get a job in a small cubicle for the rest of their life.
What separates me and you from those people, is our persistence. I try my hardest to remain positive about my craft. Despite countless battles both personally, and spiritually, I’ve come to a place in my life where I’m happy with my journey. But there are always those times when facing the blank page, I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. But do not fret my colleagues. If there is a great destroyer in this world, there must also be a great creator. Let your creation guide you to the end.
In the latest issue of Creative Screenwriting Magazine, in an article interviewing J.J. Abrams on his craft, he explains that he does not suffer from writer’s block, but rather ‘writer’s failure’. He confesses that he is fearful that what he is doing is wrong, or might turn out stupid. This is a risk all of us writers run. Remember that writing is about rewriting. We cannot let failure be a reason to quit.
There are countless tools to guide you to the end of your craft. Frodo Baggins is gifted with the light of Earendil, the elves’ most precious star. Atreyu is gifted with Auryn, a beacon of hope to grant any wish. When evil stands in the way of your craft, know that there will always be tools, people, friends, and family to help guide you through it. Writing can be scary, but you and I must be brave to face that fear. If it came down to it, would you want to go down being the devil’s meal, or do you want to go down fighting like the brave warrior Atreyu?
The choice is yours. I choose to write.